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Japan Nikkei closes at seven-week high
(03 Feb 2023, 17:38)
Japan shares eked out modest gains on Friday, 03 February 2023, with the Nikkei average closing at a seven-week high on the back of better than corporate earnings announcements from blue chip companies.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average index advanced 107.41 points, or 0.39%, to finish at 27,509.46. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange climbed up 5.09 points, or 0.26%, to 1,970.26.

Sony Group shares soared 6.2% after the company raised its operating profit forecast, citing strong results in its key gaming sector. The company Sony expects to sell 19 million PlayStation 5 consoles for the fiscal year ending in March, or 1 million more than its previous target, and boosted its fiscal-year operating profit forecast for its gaming business to Y240.0 billion from Y225.0 billion projected earlier.

ANA Holdings added 1.7% after Japan's largest airline reported operating profit of 99 billion yen ($769.77 million) in the nine months through December, compared to a loss of 116 billion yen a year earlier, as travel demand recovered after COVID-19 border curbs eased. ANA forecast full-year earnings to be 95 billion yen, compared to the 79.3 billion yen

Z Holdings jumped 12% after announcing a merger with a messaging app company Line Corp and internet firm Yahoo Japan.

Panasonic Holdings lost 3.1% after cutting its annual operating profit forecast by 12.5% on Thursday after lower-than- expected third-quarter earnings, hit by headwinds from a slowing global economy and persistently high raw materials prices.

ECONOMIC NEWS: Japan services sector continued to expand in January, and at a faster pace, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Friday with a services PMI score of 52.3. That's up from 51.1 in December and it moves further above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. The survey also said that the composite index improved to 50.7 in January from 49.7 in December.

CURRENCY NEWS: The dollar stood at around 128.60 yen in late Tokyo trading Friday, little changed from the day before. At 5 p.m., the dollar stood at 128.59-61 yen, down slightly from 128.64-66 yen at the same time Thursday.

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