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Japanese firms post sharp profit rises

Kyodo

Companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange posted sharp net profit increases for the April-June quarter, largely due to the weakening of the yen and stock gains resulting in part from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s credit-easing policies, according to SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

A tally by the brokerage found that the combined net profit of 587 firms listed on the TSE’s first section was ¥3.12 trillion, about 2.8 times more than a year earlier when corporate earnings were affected by a stronger yen and the European debt crisis.

Looking ahead, the firms’ combined group net profit forecast for the full business year is expected to nearly double to ¥11.28 trillion, according to the tally. The April-June quarter is the first in the business year.

The figures exclude financial firms, whose earnings tend to fluctuate.

The manufacturing industry saw its group net profit rise about 2.3 times in the first quarter, while the auto industry grew 28.3 percent.

Electronics makers returned to the black after some major firms in the sector incurred huge losses a year earlier. Among them, Sony Corp. said Thursday it turned the corner partly due to improved sales of smartphones.

Group net profit of nonmanufacturing firms rose about 3.5 times from a year earlier and that of retailers jumped 56.9 percent as a rise in stock prices helped improve consumer appetite.

Boosted by strong travel demand, companies in the land transportation sector posted 26.8 percent growth.

The outlook remains uncertain, however, due to risk factors including what happens in China and other emerging economies, and the impact of rising import prices of raw materials, industry analysts said.