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SMFG 6-month profit lifted by gains from selling stock holdings

TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) on Tuesday reported a 17 percent rise in net profit for the six months ended September, helped by gains from selling stock holdings.

Japan's second-largest lender said its net profit came in at 420.2 billion yen ($3.69 billion) for the April-September period, up from 359.2 billion yen a year earlier.

SMFG and rival Japanese banks have been cutting massive holdings of stocks, that were originally bought to cement ties with corporate clients - a practice that has come under growing criticism as amplifying banks' risk exposure to market swings and hindering greater corporate governance at issuer companies.

For the full-year through March, SMFG kept its net profit forecast of 630 billion yen, down 10.8 percent from a year ago and below an average estimate of 663.1 billion yen from 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. ($1 = 113.9000 yen) (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Himani Sarkar)