Nikkei edges up on China rate cut, Panasonic dives

Nikkei edges up on China rate cut, Panasonic divesCheered by an interest rate cut China, but held back by a plunge in Panasonic Corp, Japan's Nikkei average edged up 0.6 percent on Friday. The benchmark Nikkei .N225 climbed 47.70 points to 8,421.09 after rising 2 percent the previous day.

According to Toshiyuki Kanayama, a market analyst at Monex Inc., “China-related shares continue to rally on expectations that China’s rate cut will support its economy.”

China axed rates by over 100 basis points on Wednesday to prop up growth, while Panasonic dived 11 percent after cutting its annual net profit forecast by 90 percent and announcing plans to restructure as the global financial crisis dampens sales of TVs and other electronics.

Analysts said weak output data and the downward revision by Panasonic kept investors careful about chasing prices higher.

Meanwhile, gains were led by shipping firms like Kawasaki Kisen, trading houses like Itochu Corp and construction machinery companies like Komatsu Ltd. Kawasaki Kisen climbed 4.9 percent to 383 yen, Itochu advanced 6.3 precent to 471 yen and Komatsu jumped 5.6 percent to 1,130 yen.

Trade was thin, with 746 million shares changing hands on the Tokyo exchange’s first section compared with last week’s morning average of 932 million. Declining shares outnumbered advancers 794 to 774.

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