More firms cut outlooks despite exchange rate boost: poll

JIJI

Despite the yen’s rapid decline, more major Japanese companies are cutting their annual earnings projections rather than raising them, a survey says.

As the earnings season gets under way, the survey released Saturday said that 72 companies had lowered their earnings projections for fiscal 2012 ending in March and 57 had revised them upward.

The survey covered 475 nonfinancial companies listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The weaker yen gives a boost to export-oriented companies, such as automakers and electronics makers, but the positive effects appear unlikely to become visible until fiscal 2013 because the yen’s decline began late last year.

“Major companies are expected to report a jump of some 30 percent in their (pretax) profits in fiscal 2013,” said Hisao Matsuura, senior strategist at Nomura Securities Co.

Daihatsu Motor Co. and electronics maker Ricoh Co. are among companies that raised their 2012 outlooks because of the yen’s fall.

But some saw the weaker yen’s positive effects offset by slowing demand in Europe and China, as well as by the yen’s persistent strength before it began to fall back in mid-November.

Honda Motor Co. lowered its pretax profit estimate over weak sales in China and Europe and exchange contract-related losses.