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Nikkei ends flat; startup Mercari jumps on first annual profit outlook

Nikkei ends flat; startup Mercari jumps on first annual profit outlook

FILE PHOTO: Men holding umbrellas walk in front of an electric board showing Nikkei index at a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan February 15, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

TOKYO: Japanese shares were flat on Thursday as uncertainty over domestic corporate earnings kept investors on the sidelines, while Mercari jumped after the technology startup forecast its first annual net profit.

Nikkei share average was flat at 28,875.23, while the broader Topix slipped 0.10per cent to 1,947.10.

"U.S. inflation could stay at high levels, so we will need more data on inflation, wages and employment. And, quarterly earnings will be a few weeks away, the market is running out of trading factors," Nobuhiko Kuramochi, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities, said.

Two Fed officials said a period of high inflation in the United States could last longer than anticipated, a day after Fed Chair Jerome Powell played down rising price pressures.

Many hospitality-related shares, which led index's gains before the Fed meeting outcome, have now succumbed to profit-taking, weighed also by concerns about a spike in COVID-19 cases after the government eased social restrictions last week.

West Japan Railway fell 2.7per cent while department store operators Isetan Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya lost 3.2per cent and 2.1per cent, respectively.

Sumitomo Forestry shed 0.8per cent after the company announced a plan to sell new 16 million shares, which amount to 8.7per cent of its existing shares to raise up to 37.1 billion yen (US$334.32 million).

Toshiba erased early losses to close 0.1per cent flat after financial magazine Diamond reported Kioxia Holdings Corp, formerly known as Toshiba Memory, in which Toshiba holds a 40.6per cent stake, plans to list as early as in September.

Some growth shares outperformed after U.S. tech stocks hit a record high overnight.

Softbank gained 2.2per cent following solid gains in U.S. tech shares.

Mercari jumped 8.5per cent after the flea market app operator ramped up its outlook to forecast a net annual profit of 5 billion yen, its first annual profit since its listing in June 2018.

Eisai gained 1.5per cent after the drugmaker said U.S. regulator had granted breakthrough therapy designation to their experimental therapy, lecanemab, for patients with early Alzheimer's.

(US$1 = 110.97 yen)

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: Reuters

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