* Tokyo Electron, Murata, Fujitsu jump on earnings
* Overall earnings results so far not a big boost
* Japan Airlines, Ricoh struggle
By Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO, May 1 Japanese stock prices posted modest
gains on Monday as high-tech shares such as Tokyo Electron
and Murata Manufacturing gained on upbeat
earnings in otherwise holiday-lulled trading.
The Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to 19,273.87 points,
supported for now at its 100-day moving average of 19,131,
though lacking momentum to re-test its one-month high of 19,289
touched on Wednesday.
The Nikkei rose more than the broader Topix, which
gained 0.2 percent to 1,535.00, because of a 13 percent gain in
Tokyo Electron, which has a big weighting in the Nikkei.
"The pessimism we saw last month is ebbing. Investors are
picking up companies that have improving earnings outlook," said
Takaaki Yoshino, chief quantitative analyst at Daiwa Securities.
Tokyo Electron, the second most traded shares by turnover by
mid-morning, surged after the manufacturer of chip-making
machines said it sees 38.7 percent increase in operating profits
in the year to March 2018.
Fujitsu gained 8.0 percent as the information
technology equipment and service company posted upbeat earnings.
Murata Manufacturing, an electronics parts maker and a major
Apple supplier, gained 5.2 percent.
While these results have underscored the strength of the
semi-conductor sector globally, the overall earnings season has
so far provided limited catalyst for a further rally, market
"Japanese companies' earnings seem to be bottoming out. But
the improvement seems to be limited. The return-on-equity will
be still little over eight percent," said Shingo Ide, chief
equity strategist at NLI Research Institute.
Honda Motor, which forecast a 16 percent fall in
operating profits for the current year, slightly below analysts'
expectations, rose 0.2 percent.
On the other hand, rival Mazda dropped 3.8 percent
after its earning estimates fell short of market expectations.
Resona Holdings, fell 4.1 percent after the banking
group revised down its earnings for the financial year that
ended in March.
Office machine maker Ricoh dropped 6.8 percent to
near six-month lows as it projected a further fall in profits in
the year to March due to restructuring costs.
Japan Airlines dropped 7.2 percent after the
company said it saw a 16.6 percent decline in operating profits
due to costs for renewing its computer systems and other
Trading is expected to be slow this week due to holidays in
Tokyo financial markets will be closed from Wednesday to
Friday for a series of national holidays called the "Golden
(Editing by Kim Coghill)