Tokyo shares unimpressed by firm tankan

The Japanese stock market reacted little to a solid but unexciting tankan survey of business confidence from the Bank of Japan, leaving the day dominated by corporate news.

The market as a whole was nearly flat. The Nikkei 225 ended the day almost unchanged at 18,146.30. The broader Topix was up 0.3 per cent at 1,780.36.

Takashimaya, Japan’s biggest department store chain, slid 1.7 per cent to Y1,529 after reporting a 12 per cent fall in operating profit for the March to May period. The company cited poor sales of pricey clothing and renovation costs. Rival Mitsukoshi lost 1 per cent to Y611 after a 62 per cent drop in operating profit for the same period

Lion, the toiletries maker, climbed 3 per cent to Y689 after saying it would buy Asia-Pacific trademark rights for the painkiller Bufferin and other brands from Bristol-Myers Squibb for Y30bn. Lion also raised its group net profit forecast for the six months ended in June by 80 per cent to Y1.8bn, citing strong overseas sales and a weaker yen.

Jumps in the prices of oil and copper boosted production and mining companies. Sumitomo Metal Mining, which produces both items, advanced 2.6 per cent to Y2,745, helping lift the non-ferrous metals sector 1 per cent. Mitsubishi Corp, one of Japan’s biggest trading houses, which has strong natural resources interests, gained 1.9 per cent to Y3,290.

Property stocks continued their downward trend, hit this time by the tankan survey, which pointed to weakness for the sector. Mitsui Fudosan, Japan’s biggest property company, sank 1.2 per cent to Y3,420 while Mitsubishi Estate, its largest rival, slid 1.2 per cent to Y3,310.

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