May 1, 2018 / 6:24 AM / a year ago

Nikkei ekes out small gains on big-cap stocks; Sony stumbles on profit warning

TOKYO, May 1 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei eked out modest gains in holiday-thinned trade on Tuesday supported by buying in index-heavy stocks such as Fast Retailing and Fanuc, though Sony tumbled after the company issued a profit warning.

The Nikkei ended 0.2 percent higher at 22,508.03 after moving in and out of the black earlier. However, the broader Topix dropped 0.2 percent to 1,774.18.

Japan has kicked off Golden Week holidays which tends to subdue trading activity. Markets were closed on Monday, and will be closed on Thursday and Friday for national holidays.

Fast Retailing and Fanuc Corp rose 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, contributing a combined 47 points to the Nikkei.

Sony Corp tumbled 6.1 percent after the company forecast operating profit of 670 billion yen ($6.13 billion) for the year through March.. The stock loss accounted for a sizable 12 points in the benchmark index.

On the other hand, Hitachi Ltd jumped 6.1 percent after the company forecast a record-high operating profit for this fiscal year, up 4.9 percent on the year to 750 billion yen.

Separately, the Nikkei reported over the weekend that Hitachi will ask the UK government to take a direct stake in the company that is set to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Wales. Currently, it is 100 percent owned by the Japanese industrial company.

Banks underperformed, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group falling 3.0 percent and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group shedding 1.4 percent.

Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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