Japanese stocks up as Canon, trading houses gain
TOKYO, Sep 14 (Reuters) The Nikkei average was up 1.03 percent by midmorning on Thursday as a rebound in energy and commodities prices boosted trading houses and Canon Inc. jumped on a bullish newspaper report and a brokerage upgrade.
Shares of Mixi Inc., Japan's most popular online community site, remained untraded in its widely anticipated debut on the Mothers market for start-ups due to a glut of buy orders at 1.95 million yen, 26 percent above its IPO price.
Mitsubishi Corp. was up 3.51 percent at 2,210 yen, recovering along with other trading houses following a rebound in the price of oil and some metals. Trading houses have been under pressure in the past few sessions due to a slide in commodities.
''The commodities market has calmed down and that has brought investors back to the trading house sector,'' said Ken Masuda, senior dealer at Shinko Securities. ''The overall market is holding up pretty well.'' As of 0055 GMT, the Nikkei was up 162.27 points at 15,912.32, extending the previous session's 0.2 percent gain. The broader TOPIX index was up 0.73 percent at 1,595.15.
Canon rose 2.05 percent to 5,980 yen after the Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily said its 2006 group net profit would rise 16 percent, beating Canon's forecast, and Merrill Lynch upgraded its rating to ''buy'' from ''neutral''.
Other blue-chip stocks were helped by a modest rise on Wall Street, with automaker Honda Motor Co. up 2.13 percent at 3,840 yen and electronics maker Sony Corp. gaining 1.62 percent to 5,020 yen.
Masuda said investors were selling Internet-related stocks to make room in their portfolio for Mixi, pushing the Mothers index down about 2 percent.
Yahoo Japan Corp. was down 0.73 percent at 40,850 yen while online shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. slipped 3.61 percent to 48,000 yen.
A Reuters survey showed on Thursday that business confidence among Japanese manufacturers worsened in September from three months before, as companies felt the pinch from rising raw material costs.
REUTERS VJ RN0656