May 12, 2020 / 2:44 AM / 22 days ago

Japanese shares almost flat, Toyota earnings awaited

TOKYO, May 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average was little changed on Tuesday as investors weighed hopes of economic re-openings against concerns about further waves of coronavirus infections.

Many investors also looked to a barrage of earnings announcements due later in the day, including those from Toyota Motor, the biggest Japanese company by market cap.

The Nikkei share average fell 0.02% to 20,387.35 points, a day after it hit a two-month high. It has risen 18.9% from a trough hit on March 19. The broader Topix was down 0.08% to 1,479.35.

“I think the market is still retaining an uptrend,” said Yuya Fukue, trader at Rheos Capital Works.

“At the same time, I expect the polarisation of the market to continue. The tech sector will flourish as it is becoming an important infrastructure for the society.”

Semi-conductor related shares were among the best performers, with Sumco Corp rising 4.6% and Advantest Corp gaining 2.3%.

Tokyo Seimitsu rose 5.1% on strong earnings.

Square Enix Holdings Co Ltd rose 4.8% after the online entertainment company raised its profit estimate for the financial year ended March and hiked its dividend.

In contrast, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings fell 7.5% after the department store operator posted a loss for the financial ended March, highlighting the damage wreaked by the coronavirus on traditional retailers.

Other cyclical shares were badly hit.

Kawasaki Kisen fell 5.5% even as the shipping company managed to post a net profit in its financial year ended March on structural reforms.

Bridgestone slipped 4.1% after the tyre maker posted a 65% fall in net profit for the January-March period, compared with a year earlier, and withdrew its annual forecast.

Toyota shares dipped 0.6%. More earnings announcements are expected later in the day, including Honda Motor, Kirin Holdings and Mitsui Fudosan. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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