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Nikkei bounces from 4-month low; Panasonic, Toyota soar on earnings

Ayai Tomisawa
Tuesday, 4 Feb 2014 | 9:14 PM ET

* Nikkei up 1.4 pct, Topix up 2 pct

* Dips this week created buying opportunities - traders

* Sony gains on talks to sell loss-making PC business

TOKYO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The Nikkei average climbed more than 1 percent on Wednesday, bouncing from a four-month low hit the previous day, as investors scooped up recently battered stocks like Panasonic and Toyota Motor following strong earnings results. Panasonic Corp jumped more than 15 percent and was the fifth-most traded stock on the main board after its quarterly earnings more than tripled. Toyota Motor Corp rose more than 5 percent and was the second-most traded stock after it raised its annual profit forecast to a record level, while Hitachi Ltd gained 4.1 percent after also lifting its guidance.

The three companies had fallen between 5.4 percent and 10 percent during the first two days of this week. Traders said such dips were creating buying opportunities, although such bargain hunting may be short-lived as most investors do not want to aggressively cover their short positions until they see the U.S. jobs data due on Friday. "The Japanese market has not been able to avoid repercussions from global economic frustrations like poor U.S. factory data and emerging market worries," said Jun Yunoki, a strategist at Nomura Securities. "But people have come to realise that some companies are overly sold despite their positive earnings outlooks." The Nikkei was up 1.4 percent at 14,206.98 in midmorning trade. On Tuesday, it had stumbled 4.2 percent to 14,008.47, marking its lowest closing level since Oct. 8 and its biggest one-day percentage decline since June 2013. The benchmark was still trading below its 200-day moving average, which had been seen as a long-term support line. The Topix gained 2 percent to 1,161.84, with all of its 33 subsectors in positive territory. Shares of Sony Corp, which had been hit by a ratings downgrade by Moody's and concerns about its fundamentals, jumped 7.8 percent on news it is in talks with investment fund Japan Industrial Partners to sell its loss-making Vaio personal computer division. "We were selling Sony when there was a downgrade and media reports suggesting some kind of a tie up with Lenovo, but we can buy Sony shares if the company is really selling its struggling PC business," said a fund manager at a Japanese asset management firm. But Kobe Steel Ltd dropped 5.1 percent to 145 yen, its lowest since July 2013, on dilution fears after the steelmaker said it would raise up to 100.57 billion yen ($993 million) in a global share offering to invest in its main plant to become more competitive. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, an index launched this year comprised of firms with high return on equity and strong corporate governance, rose 1.7 percent to 10,504.22.

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