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Market Update

Japan Struggles to Escape Recession, Kuraray and ASIC Drop

Author: Hiruki Nakamura
Last Update: 8:16 AM ET February 16 2015

4:30 PM Tokyo Nikkei index in Tokyo closed at a new eight year high after the yen weakened and the economy in the fourth quarter grew but at a slower than expected pace. Fanuc, the robotic equipment maker, plans to invest $1.1 billion by the end of 2016. Yokohama Rubber annual net rose 16%.

Stocks in Tokyo closed higher and Japan rebounded from a technical recession in the fourth quarter after consumer spending and business spending grew but less than expected.

Market indexes in Tokyo closed at a new eight year high as investors focused on the weakness in the yen and development on Wall Street.

Seasonally adjusted industrial production in December increased 0.8% revised from the 1% gain in the preliminary report, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported today.

The department also added seasonally adjusted capacity utilization in December jumped 2%, in contrast to decline of 0.8% in the November.

Gross domestic product in fourth-quarter climbed at 2.2% rate and increased 0.6% in the third-quarter from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office announced.

The economy rebounded from the technical recession after decreasing 1.9% in the third quarter following a revised plunge of 7.1% in the second quarter.

The government was forced to delay second sales tax increase in October after consumers halted spending following the increase in national sales tax by 8%.

The Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 91.41 or 0.5% to 18,004.77 and the broader Topix index rose to 10.05 to 1,459.438.

The yen declined to 118.62 against one dollar.

Stocks in Review

ASICS Corp tumbled 10% to 2,666 yen after the sportswear maker reported net sales in the year ending in December climbed 7.5% to 354.05 billion yen from 329.46 billion yen a year ago period.

Net income in the year surged 38.3% to 22.28 billion yen compared to 16.11 billion yen and diluted earnings per share jumped to 110.91 yen from 84.56 yen in the same period a year ago.

The company forecasted revenues in the first-half to be about 215 billion yen and net income of 13 billion yen.

For the fiscal 2015, revenues of nearly 423 billion yen .and income would be 21 billion yen.

Fanuc Corp climbed 3.4% to 22,390 after the robotic equipment maker plans to invest 100 billion yen in a new plant by the end of 2016 and will invest another 30 billion yen by May 2016 to set up four research facilities in Yamanashi prefecture.

Kuraray Co Ltd declined 5.7% to polyvinyl resins and film maker said net sales in the year ending in December soared 21% to 411.41 billion yen from 413.48 billion yen a year ago period.

Net income in the year plunged 27.5% to 21.30 billion yen compared to 29.39 billion yen and diluted earnings per share dropped to 60.65 yen from 83.75 yen in the same period a year ago.

The chemical producer forecasted net sales in the first-half to climb 17.7% to 265 billion yen and net income to jump 8.1% to 17 billion yen.

For the year, Kuraray estimated revenues to soar 11.3% to 540 billion yen .and income to advance 31.1% to 36 billion yen.

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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