TOKYO (AFP) – Tokyo stocks recovered from early losses to end the morning session slightly higher despite lacklustre Japanese economic data, as investors await company results on the busiest day of earnings season.
The Nikkei 225 index ticked up 0.01 percent, or 2.46 points, to 20,525.29 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section issues rose 0.39 percent, or 6.40 points, to 1,653.61.
More than 300 companies listed on the Topix will report quarterly results Friday, including Honda, electronics giant Sharp and Japan s three largest banks. Results come shortly after markets close.
“We re able to confirm the (good) quality of the earnings so far, which have come in roughly within the expected range,” said Mitsuo Shimizu, deputy general manager at Japan Asia Securities Group.
“However, today is the peak of the earnings season, and investors may want to scrutinise results further,” he told Bloomberg News.
Of the 598 firms that have reported this season, 59 percent exceeded profit expectations, an improvement from the 48 percent that beat forecasts in the previous quarter, according to Bloomberg.
But downbeat Japanese economic data released early Friday weighed on sentiment.
Household spending fell 2.0 percent year-on-year in June while core consumer inflation stayed at a tepid 0.1 percent, far below the Bank of Japan s target and spurring speculation that policymakers will have to unleash more stimulus measures.
Japan Airlines shares rose 1.52 percent to 4,665 yen after the carrier said net profit in the April-June quarter more than doubled thanks to a jump in tourist arrivals and a drop in fuel costs.