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Market Update

After a Year Prices Begin to Rise in Japan, Nikkei at 1-Month Low

Author: Hiruki Nakamura
Last Update: 9:51 AM ET May 01 2015

4:30 PM Tokyo Market indexes in Japan closed higher ahead of Golden Week holiday through May 6. Core consumer price index increased for the first time in a year. Jobless rate improved to 3.4% and household spending dropped in March. Sony jumped after the company estimated operating profit in the current fiscal year.

Market indexes in Tokyo gained in muted trading ahead of Golden Week holidays.

Investors stayed away from trading and took in stride the latest inflation and jobless rate data.

The unemployment rate in Japan improved for the second month in a row and the seasonally adjusted rate in March declined to 3.4%, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said.

The labor force participation rate in month was unchanged at 59.1% and the job-to-applicants ratio remained unchanged at 1.15, showing there are 115 jobs available for every 100 applicants.

Separately, the government report showed inflation in March rose for the first time in almost a year.

Core consumer price index, excluding prices of food and energy, rose 0.2%, the first monthly price increase since April of last year.

Despite the latest price increase many economists believe the slack in the economy is too large and it is too early to talk about a rebound in prices because prices of consumer goods and manufactured products are showing no signs of an increase.

Household spending dropped 10.6% in March from a year ago month when consumer spending surged ahead of a sales tax increase in April 2014.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 11.62 to 19,531.63 and the broader Topix index slid 7.18 to 1,585.61.

For the week, the Nikkei 225 index declined 0.6%.

The yen closed at 119.83 against a dollar.

Stocks in Review

Axial Retailing Inc slumped 2.6% to 3,400 yen after the supermarkets operator reported net sales in the year ending in March climbed 23.3% to 212.61 billion yen from 172.39 billion yen in a year ago period.

Net income in the year soared 16.5% to 3.30 billion yen compared to 2.83 billion yen and earnings per share increased to 141.21 yen from 138.71 yen in the same period a year ago.

Net One Systems Co., Ltd declined 3.9% to 826 yen after the network integration services provider said net sales in the year ending in March rose 0.5% to 143.17 billion yen from 142.43 billion yen in a year ago period.

Net income in the year climbed 150% to 2.46 billion yen compared to 983 million yen and diluted earnings per share jumped to 29.03 yen from 11.39 yen in the same period a year ago.

Sony Corporation (SNE) decreased 0.4% 3,628.50 yen after the electronic products maker reported sales revenues in the year ending in March climbed 5.8% to 8.22 trillion yen from 7.77 trillion yen in a year ago period.

Net loss in the year narrowed to 126 billion yen compared to 128.4 billion yen and diluted loss per shared declined to 113.04 yen from 124.09 yen in the same period a year ago.

The company forecasted operating profits for the year ending in March 2016 to jump to 320 billion yen or $2.7 billion.

Sony said sales of Play Station 4 reached 22.3 million units by the end of March, the most profitable product for the company.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc