Nikkei retreats from 1-week high; Honda, Toshiba fall after earnings

Reuters

* Honda Motor down on disappointment it didn't upgrade

earnings f'cast

* ANA hits two-month low after nearly halving guidance

* Sharp, Sony, SoftBank to report results after mkt close

By Dominic Lau

TOKYO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average

pulled back from a one-week high on Thursday morning on earnings

concerns, with blue-chips Toshiba Corp and Honda Motor

Co Ltd coming under pressure after reporting quarterly

results.

Honda lost 1.5 percent as investors were disappointed that

the automaker kept its operating profit target for the year to

next March unchanged at 780 billion yen ($7.95 billion). That

compared with a consensus forecast of 827.9 billion yen from 23

analysts.

Toshiba dropped 1.8 percent, with analysts expressing

concerns that it relies too heavy on NAND memory chips as its

earnings driver as the cycle may be peaking out.

The Nikkei slipped 0.2 percent to 14,468.58 in

mid-morning trade, ahead of the outcome of a Bank of Japan

meeting later in the day, after gaining 1.2 percent in the

previous session.

The Japanese central bank is expected to slightly revise up

its economic growth forecast to around 1.5 percent for the next

fiscal year on hopes a government stimulus package will offset

slowing exports to Asia.

The BOJ meeting followed a less dovish statement from the

U.S. Federal Reserve overnight, which prompted profit-taking in

U.S. stocks.

The benchmark Nikkei is flat this month. The uninspiring

October performance came after a 8 percent rally in September,

its best monthly performance since 1968. Still, the index is up

39 percent this year.

"It's month-end, so some programme trading may be running in

the market," a senior trader at a foreign bank in Tokyo said.

"The key is whether we can close up above 14,500," he said,

adding that the flows were mainly focused in earnings-related

stocks.

ANA HIT TURBULENCE

All Nippon Airways was the third-most traded on the

main board by turnover after the carrier almost halved its

operating profit forecast for the year ending March 2014. The

stock was down as much as 6 percent to a two-month low.

Rival Japan Airlines Co Ltd, which is to report

quarterly results later in the day, dipped 0.2 percent.

Sony Corp, Panasonic Corp, Sharp Corp

and mobile operator SoftBank Corp are also due

to announce their earnings on Thursday.

Panasonic climbed 3.7 percent to a five-month high after it

secured further lithium-ion battery orders from Tesla Motors Inc

for its electric cars.

Of the 48 Nikkei companies that have so far reported

quarterly earnings, 56 percent of them either beat or met market

expectations, Thomson Reuters StarMine data showed. That

compared with 58 percent in the previous quarter.

Another trader said some quant funds were seen buying

defensive and domestic-focused names as they sought to rebalance

their books.

The broader Topix index was flat at 1,204.60, with

trading volume at 31 percent of full daily average for the past

90 days.

Despite the rally so far this year, valuations in Japanese

stocks were not too taxing. The Topix carried a 12-month forward

price-to-earnings ratio of 14.2, below a 10-year average of

16.1, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

It was also cheaper than the U.S. S&P 500's 14.7.

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