Japan Stocks Fall


Japan's stocks fell, led by commodities companies, paring the best monthly performance for the Nikkei 225 Stock Average in 13 years.

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co. led metals and energy companies lower after saying profit will decline this year. Daiwa Securities Group Inc. sent brokerages higher as recent earnings indicated it won't have major losses on U.S. mortgage investments. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. soared the most in almost nine years after projecting profit that surpassed analyst estimates.

The Nikkei sank 44.38, or 0.3 percent, to close at 13,849.99 in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.6 percent. The gauge rose 11 percent in April, the steepest monthly gain since July 1995. The broader Topix index dipped 3.10, or 0.2 percent, to 1,358.65.

Since hitting a two-year low on March 17, the Nikkei has delivered the second-best performance among major markets, as JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s rescue of Bear Stearns Cos. and rate cuts by the Federal Reserve boosted confidence in the financial system. An index tracking banks was the biggest winner among industry groups on the Topix this month, rising 28 percent.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. fell by more than half from its peak this year as it reported more losses related to U.S. mortgages than any other Japanese bank. The lender, Japan's third largest by value, has gained 48 percent since its 12-month low on March 31 as credit-market fears eased. Its shares rose 2.1 percent to 540,000 yen today.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
4/30/2008 7:05:23 AM