TOKYO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's No.2 bank by assets, posted a 27.6 percent decline in first-half net profit, hurt by hefty losses on its equity portfolio while lending at home remained sluggish due to a tepid economy.
Net profit fell to 184.28 billion yen ($2.3 billion) in April-September from 254.7 billion yen a year earlier, said Mizuho, the first among the country's top three banks to announce first-half earnings.
Japanese banks including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group own stakes in hundreds of their corporate clients, making the lenders vulnerable to stock market swings. The banks have to take impairment charges when the market value of the stocks slide below the values on their books.
For the full year to March 2013, Mizuho kept its net profit forecast at 500 billion yen, compared with an average estimate of 473 billion yen in a poll of 18 analysts by Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Mizuho have climbed some 17 percent so far this year, outperforming a 2.5 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei average. ($1 = 79.4400 Japanese yen) (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Ryan Woo)