January 31, 2020 / 3:23 AM / 6 months ago

Nikkei bounces back on earnings to cap week hit by epidemic fears

TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - A slew of upbeat corporate earnings and forecasts helped Japanese shares bounce back on Friday, although lingering fears over the coronavirus epidemic kept the market on track for its biggest weekly drop in nearly six months.

By midday, the Nikkei share average rose 1.26% to 23,268.38, though it was still down 2.35% for the week, the biggest since early August if sustained by close. The broader Topix gained 0.9% to 1,689.86.

Investors remained on the edge over how much the novel flu-like virus could disrupt the global economy, with the World Health Organisation declaring it a global health emergency.

Fujitsu jumped 12% to an 18-year high after the information technology conglomerate raised profit guidance and dividend forecasts, and announced a share buyback.

Anritsu soared 6.4%, also on upbeat earnings reports due to strong 5G-related demand.

Nomura Holdings rose 0.9% after Japan’s biggest brokerage and investment bank posted its fourth straight quarterly profit, primarily due to a turnaround at its wholesale business.

The Topix subindex for brokerages rose 1.6% and hit its highest level since late 2018.

Strong earnings boosted Chugai Pharmaceutical, the second-biggest Japanese drugmaker by market cap, by 7.5%, too.

On the other hand, chip-making machine maker Screen Holdings , fell 7.6% after declining by its daily limit of 19.3% on Thursday, following surprise downgrades to its earnings estimates.

Electronic parts maker Alps Alpine shed 9.6% after it cut its profit and dividend estimates for the year to March.

Nintendo slipped 4.1% to a three-month low as an upward revision in the game machine maker’s profit guidance fell short of strong market expectations.

Car parts maker Denso lost 1.0% after it cut profits guidance. (Reporting by Tokyo Markets Team; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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