Japan Stocks Take Large Losses Amid Mixed Earnings

MarketWatch Pulse

Japanese stocks stumbled into their post-holiday reopen Thursday, with the market solidly lower after a slate of earnings and ahead of a Bank of Japan meeting later in the day. The Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.5%, with the Topix down 1.3%, after the Tokyo bourse was closed Wednesday for the Showa Day holiday. The yen stuck to its recent levels, with the dollar buying �118.94, little affected by data out early Thursday showing Japanese industrial production contracted by 0.3% in March, far less worse than the 2.3% drop forecast in a Wall Street Journal survey. But a negative lead from the New York markets after disappointing U.S. economic growth numbers appeared to weigh on Japanese exporters, while investors awaited a central-bank decision expected to result in no change to policy but possibly include a downward revision to inflation forecasts. Auto stocks were in focus after Honda Motor Co. offered an operating-profit forecast for the current fiscal year that was below market expectations. Honda shares fell 6.8% in early moves, while a Nikkei news report predicting forecast-beating profits for Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. had a mixed result, with Nissan down 1.1% but Fuji Heavy outperforming the market by limiting its retreat to 0.2%. A net-loss warning from Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. sent its shares down 3.8%, while NTT DoCoMo Inc. lost 5.9% after reporting drop in fiscal-year profit, weighed by discounting on some of its mobile-phone plans. Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. fell 5.7% on disappointing results and indications it wouldn't be hiking its dividend, as the Nikkei reported. Meanwhile, Oriental Land Co. gave up 3.5% as another Nikkei report said the operator of the Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland resorts planned to invest some $4.2 billion in the parks over the coming decade. On the upside, strong earnings results propelled TDK Corp. up 6.1% and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. up 1.5%, while Nintendo Co. edged up 0.2% after a Nikkei earnings preview said it would report a swing back to profit for the fiscal year ended March 31.

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