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Nikkei steady; Nissan plunges after cutting guidance

Dominic Lau
Monday, 4 Nov 2013 | 8:59 PM ET

* Kubota up as much as 9.7 pct to 3-mth high after lifting f'cast

* Nissan cuts guidance, sags as much as 11.6 pct to 7-mth low

* SoftBank extends gains after earnings results

TOKYO, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei average stabilised on Tuesday after two days of losses as gains made by companies such as farm equipment maker Kubota Corp after lifting earnings forecasts countered Nissan Motor Co Ltd's plunge on weaker guidance. Gains in index heavyweight SoftBank Corp, a follow-through from last week's strong results, also supported the Nikkei which was steady at 14,205.40 after losing 2.1 percent in the previous two sessions. Nissan, the second-most traded counter on the main board by turnover, sank as much as 11.6 percent to a seven-month low of 850 yen on Tuesday morning. The carmaker cut its annual net profit estimate for the year ending March 2014 by 15 percent to 355 billion yen ($3.6 billion) after market close on Friday, facing a slowdown in emerging markets and quality issues. Japanese markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday. "(Nissan) is down but I have not seen much reaction from long-term investors out there," a Tokyo-based senior trader at a foreign bank said. Other carmakers were also on the back foot, with Toyota Motor Corp down 0.5 percent and Honda Motor Co Ltd off 0.8 percent. Of the Big Three carmakers, Toyota shares have performed so far this year, up 58 percent versus Honda's 24.5 percent rise and Nissan's 8 percent gain. But Nissan was the cheapest of the three in terms of valuations. It carried a 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio of 8.1 versus Toyota and Honda both at 10.7, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream. Farm equipment and machinery maker Kubota Corp offered investors some cheer as it lifted its six-month earnings forecast by 28 percent to 100 billion yen. The stock climbed as much as 9.7 percent to a three-month high of 1,575 yen. SoftBank gained 2.4 percent, building on Friday's 3.4 percent rally after the mobile operator reported a record six-month profit. It was the most-traded stock. The broader Topix index was down 0.2 percent at 1,180.78 in mid-morning trade, with volume at 40 percent of the full daily average for the past 90 trading days. Of the 105 Nikkei companies that have so far announced quarterly earnings, 62 percent either met or exceeded market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That compared with 58 percent in the previous quarter. The benchmark is up 37 percent so far this year. Other notable gainers on Tuesday included Astella Pharmas Inc, which rose 0.5 percent, adding to Friday's 1.1 percent gain after the drugmaker said it would buy back up to 5.3 million of its own shares, worth about 30 billion yen, between Nov. 5 and Dec. 16.

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