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Nikkei up on SoftBank, Panasonic; Sony plunges 10 pct on profit-warning

* Sony tumbles 10 pct after slashing guidance

* Panasonic jumps to 2-1/2 year high after lifting f'cast

By Dominic Lau

TOKYO, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks inched higher on

Friday morning, helped by solid earnings from the likes of

Panasonic and mobile operator SoftBank Corp, but the mood was

somewhat dimmed by a plunge in Sony Corp shares on a


Sony, the maker of the famed Walkman music player

to the game console PlayStation, tumbled 10 percent after it

slashed its full-year operating profit forecast by 26 percent as

its struggling TV operations fell back into red.

Rival Panasonic was cheered by investors, with the

stock up 5.9 percent to a 2-1/2 year peak after it lifted its

earnings forecast on strong sales of products like batteries to

industry clients.

Sharp Corp, like its domestic peers which have been

struggling against the onslaught of foreign rivals such as

Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc, posted

its first quarterly net profit in two years, beating market

expectations. The stock was up 5.2 percent.

The benchmark Nikkei advanced 0.3 percent to

14,365.43, rebounding from a 1.2 percent decline in the previous

session. The benchmark is up 2 percent so far this week after

shedding 3.3 percent last week.

Adding to the positive sentiment, China's manufacturing

sector expanded at the fastest pace in 18 months in October,

official data showed on Friday, providing fresh signs of a

stabilisation in the world's second-largest economy.

A senior trader at a foreign brokerage in Tokyo said company

earnings after Thursday's market close were a bit mixed but

added that buy orders still outpaced sell by two to one.

"People who have been active are traditional real money

accounts in large cap stocks ... We've seen retail investors

slowing down a little bit and institutional investors stepping

up a little bit," he said.

The broader Topix index was flat at 1,194.76, with

trading volume at 30 percent of its full daily average for the

past 90 trading days.

Index heavyweight SoftBank jumped 3.7 percent after

it reported a record six-month profit, spurred by strong sales

of handsets, subscriber growth and a share price that has more

than doubled this year.

SoftBank was the most-traded on the main board by turnover,

followed by Sony, Sharp and Panasonic.

Ink-jet printer and electronic parts maker Seiko Epson Corp

was untraded with a glut of buy orders after it raised

its annual operating profit guidance by 57 percent to 58 billion

yen. The stock was notionally quoted at 1,996 yen, up 25 percent

from its Thursday's close of 1,596 yen.

Underscoring the mix bag of earnings, TDK Corp

dropped 3.9 percent to a three-week low, with analysts

expressing concerns about its outlook on hard disk drive


Nevertheless, the quarterly earnings season so far has

sprung few surprises. Of the 83 Nikkei companies that have so

far reported quarterly earnings, 58 percent of them either beat

or met analysts' expectations, according to Thomson Reuters

StarMine, in line with the previous quarter.

The Nikkei has risen nearly 40 percent this year on the back

of the Japanese government's aggressive monetary and fiscal