The mild recovery for March’s output compares to February’s 2.3% plunge, but is below a forecast 0.5% gain from a Wall Street Journal survey of economists.
As for the survey of the Japanese manufacturers themselves, included in the data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the average expectation for this month’s output calls for a 1.4% drop, while May’s result is seen edging 0.1% higher.
Similarly, the monthly report on Japanese manufacturing compiled by Markit and Japan Materials Management Association — released earlier this morning — showed April output falling at its fastest pace since December 2012, even as job creation in the sector saw its highest growth in more than seven years.
The yen nudged a little higher after the ministry’s data, as the dollar inched down to ¥102.58 from ¥102.61. Equity-wise,
Telecoms and auto makers are among the winners at this point. Softbank is up 2.2% after its U.S. unit Sprint hiked its outlook, while KDDI is up 2.8% ahead of its earnings due out later today. NTT and sister wireless firm NTT Docomo are pulling up the rear, with gains of 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively.
On the automotive front, Toyota is up 2.3% as investors react to its plan to consolidate its U.S. operations in Texas, while Honda is up 2.5%, Nissan is up 1.7%, Mitsubishi Motors is up 1.6%, and Fuji Heavy is up 1.4%.
Panasonic is trading 1.8% higher as the market passes judgment on its earnings, out after Monday’s closing bell, which showed the electronics major swinging to a fiscal-year gain and forecasting more profit for this year. Kyocera is also enjoying a post-earnings bump, its shares rising 3.6% on the back of above-consensus profit results.
But this morning’s gains are capped by some disappointing earnings and other news.
NEC is down 6.6% after growth in its bottom line trailed analyst forecasts, while Chubu Electric is down 2% (among the only utility stock in decline this morning) after posting a sharply wider annual loss and offering guidance that calls for a swing to profit this year, but by less than the market expected.
TDK is down 4% despite significantly higher profit than in the previous fiscal year, with investors reacting to a forecast that undershot expectations.
Newly listed Apple supplier Japan Display is 3.7% lower after trimming its annual profit target, while Tokyo Electron is off a milder 0.4% after posting a slightly larger fiscal-year loss than the previous year.