Nikkei slips 0.25% as strong yen weighs, market eyes earnings peak (2)

20:00, October 26, 2010      

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SMK Corp., a maker of electronic components, plummeted 6.1 percent to 353 yen, the firm's steepest drop since Jan. 27, following its first-half net income totaling just 1.16 billion yen (14.37 million U.S. dollars) -- 7.3 percent less than forecast.

It was a brighter day for Sony Corp. however, following speculation that the consumer electronics giant may be the target of a buyout from Apple Inc.

Sony ended up 0.7 percent higher at 2,742 yen having climbed nearly 3 percent at one point, with more than twice the average number of shares traded. The firm declined to comment on any speculation regarding a buyout.

"Export-related issues are sluggish but are not being sold heavily as some companies have revised their earnings upward and there is speculation about favorable earnings, said Yumi Nishimura, senior equity market analyst at Daiwa Securities Capital Markets Co.

Canon Inc. is due to report on Wednesday and Sony Corp.'s report will be out on Friday -- both eagerly awaited by the market, brokers said.

"Investors want to see earnings as the season peaks later this week," Nishimura said.

Utility firms found favor today as some so-called defensive shares are not so susceptible to a strong yen.

Kansai Electric Power increased 1 percent to 1,957 yen and Chubu Electric Power Co. gained 1.2 percent to 1,958 yen. Osaka Gas Co., meanwhile, increased 2.1 percent to close at 299 yen.

JX Holdings Inc., Japan's largest oil refiner and copper producer, was a notable gainer on Monday, advancing 2.3 percent to 484 yen.

Some 1.54 billion shares changed hands on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section on Monday, up from Monday's volume of 1.40 billion, with declining issues outnumbering advancing ones by 881 to 603.

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