Japanese stocks rebounded Monday as Seiko Epson and Nomura Research Institute soared after releasing upbeat earnings results, while Seiyu _ Wal-Mart's Japanese unit _ surged on hopes for a realignment in the retail sector.
The Nikkei 225 index rose 48.53, or 0.3 percent, to 17,470.46.
With earnings season getting into full swing, investors expect most companies to report solid quarterly results and upbeat forecasts for the fiscal year through March. But the market may not get a major boost, as such expectations have already been factored into current stock prices after the Nikkei hit a six-year high last Thursday, traders said.
"As we saw a fairly strong rise last week and earnings reports have started in earnest, (the Nikkei) won't move substantially this week and will probably go lower," said Terushige Shibata, Mizuho Investors Securities' investment information officer.
Among sharp gainers, Seiko Epson ended up 5.7 percent at 3,320 yen (US$27.25) after the maker of electronics devices and printers said Friday its group net profit in the October-December quarter rose 49 percent on year.
Nomura Research Institute jumped 7.3 percent to 18,930 yen (US$155.42) after the think tank reported good earnings and unveiled plans of a 5-to-1 stock split and higher dividend for this fiscal year. Nomura Holdings, the brokerage, released earnings Monday.
Seiyu surged 13 percent as hopes for a realignment in Japan's retail sector grew after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Vice Chairman Michael Duke said in an interview with the Nikkei newspaper that the retail giant may look for future corporate acquisition opportunities in Japan. Other retail stocks also rose.
Softbank gained 5.6 percent to 2,735 yen after Credit Suisse hiked its rating for the Internet investment and telecommunications firm to "outperform" from "underperform," saying that Softbank's cell phone operations have some price advantages not offered by competing firms.
The broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange's first section, added 5.57 points, or 0.32 percent, to 1,733.59 points Monday.
In currencies, the dollar was trading at 121.80 at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Monday, up from 121.58 yen late Friday in New York. The euro fell to US$1.2904 from US$1.2910.