Nikon H1 profit jumps on cameras, lifts outlook

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TOKYO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Japanese precision-equipment maker Nikon Corp said on Thursday its first-half profit rose 43.7 percent, thanks to demand for its advanced cameras and lenses, and it raised its full-year outlook above market forecasts.

Operating profit was 63.27 billion yen (0.4 million) in April-September, up from 44.03 billion yen a year earlier. That compared with a mean market estimate of 61.3 billion yen from five brokerages polled by Reuters Estimates.

Nikon has widened its digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera line-up with high-end amateur models, while focusing on profitability in simpler compact models in emerging economies.

Nikon, also the world's No. 2 maker of chip steppers after Netherlands-based ASML, lifted its outlook for the year to March to 127 billion yen from an operating profit of 114 billion yen, against a market estimate of 124.9 billion yen by 20 analysts.

Chip steppers are complex machines used to print circuitry on silicon wafers.

Shares of Nikon have shed 20 percent since hitting an all-time closing high in October, compared with a 10 percent fall at camera rival Canon Inc, and Olympus Corp's 9 percent fall in the same period.

REUTERS SI DS1153

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