SMFG first-half profit jumps 53 pct, boosted by Japan stocks rally

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 | 2:40 AM ET

TOKYO, Nov 12(Reuters) - Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group's reported a 53-percent jump in net profit for the six months ended in September, as a rally in Japanese stocks boosted the value of its equities holdings.

Japan's third-largest lender by assets said on Tuesday that net profit for the April-September period was 505.7 billion yen ($5.10 billion), up from 331 billion yen a year earlier.

The bank lifted its full-year net profit forecast to 750 billion yen from 580 billion yen. The Starmine SmartEstimate was 740.7 billion yen.

The results were in line with preliminary results posted by last month, when the bank flagged its first-half net profit was likely to have far outstripped its own forecast issued in May of 290 billion yen.

Japanese banks benefited in the April-September period from a stock rally that began late last year, when markets became filled with expectations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would aggressively pursue economic stimulus policies. Compared with a year earlier, the benchmark Nikkei average finished 63 percent higher in September.

Rising stock prices pushed up the value of the banks' massive equity portfolio, which includes client companies' shares and mutual funds. ($1 = 99.2400 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing bby Simon Cameron-Moore)

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