The Tokyo stock market has reacted little to the ruling coalition’s victory in last month’s Upper House election, as the outcome was well within expectations.
The market was more concerned about an economic restructuring program in the making.
Now that the election is out of the way, the market has shifted its attention to the government’s guidelines for budget requests for the next fiscal year and realignment of special state-run corporations — first steps to clear the way for economic reforms.
The market has been unsettled seriously by downward revisions of earnings estimates by big-name domestic companies and a slew of unnerving U.S. economic indicators.
Another key downside factor was a marked deterioration of the U.S. manufacturing sector. The National Association of Purchasing Management’s gauge fell to 43.6 last month, down from 44.7 in June.
When the index is above 50, it indicates the U.S. manufacturing sector is growing.
Investor sentiment was also shaken by Sony Corp.’s worse-than-expected profit results. Sony reported late last month that it chalked up 3 billion yen in operating profits in the April-June quarter, down 90.2 percent from the previous quarter.
Analysts earlier estimated the company’s profits in its primary business operations at around 50 billion yen.
Sony’s shares then took a battering in hectic trading, hitting a year-to-date intraday low of 5,780 yen on July 30.
Investors were also alerted by poor profit results announced later by NEC Corp., Fujitsu Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.
Their shares also plunged to year-to-date lows.
Their shares soon bounced back, however, with the market’s reaction to the poor earnings results muted by cost-reduction plans.
On Monday, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., for one, announced a restructuring plan, forecasting that it will slash annual expenditures by some 100 billion yen to 600 billion yen in the next three years.
The projected cutback is twice as large as the previously estimated 50 billion yen.
Investors are relieved that listed companies are stepping up efforts to put their financial house in order.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.