Nikkei rises 0.5 pct after Citi earnings; yen weighs

* Banks draw support from Citi results

* Apple, IBM stocks lose steam but earnings solid -analysts

* Fed easing hopes supporting stock markets -fund manager

By Aiko Hayashi

TOKYO, Oct 19 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s Nikkei average rose 0.5
percent on Tuesday, with banking shares higher after
stronger-than-expected results from Citigroup (C.N: ), but the
yen’s continued strength weighed on the market.

Market players said they were reluctant to actively take
positions ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on
Nov. 2-3.

Expectations that the Fed will ease further have sparked a
sell-off in the dollar in recent weeks and the subsequent rise in
the yen has pressured Japanese stocks.

But the market has also found support from the expectation
that an easing will boost liquidity in financial markets and help
the U.S. economy. Media reports about solid earnings at home,
such as those of Mitsubishi Heavy (7011.T: ), also helped bolster
the market.

“There’s the possibility that news will run its course after
the Fed decision, but until then, stocks will likely hover around
these levels,” Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi
Investment Management.

“If semi-decent earnings continue to come in line with
expectations, that will also help support the market.”

By the midday break, the benchmark Nikkei (.N225: ) has risen
50.44 points to 9,548.93, after ending almost flat the previous
day, while the broader Topix (.TOPX: ) added 0.4 percent to 834.13.

Technical charts show the Nikkei has strong support at its
25-day moving average, now at 9,495, while its next upward
targets are its recent peaks around 9,700, marked this month, and
9,800, hit in July.

Still, Japanese stocks are among the worst performers in the
world’s major stock indexes this year. The Nikkei has shed about
9 percent so far, hurt by the strong yen, while the MSCI index of
Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS: ) has gained
about 10 percent during the same period.

Banking shares rose, with top lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Group (8306.T: ) gaining 1.3 percent to 387 yen and Mizuho
Financial Group (8411.T: ) climbing 1.7 percent to 119 yen.

Shares of exporters were mixed, with Sony Corp (6758.T: ) up
1.6 percent at 2,701 yen and Canon Inc (7751.T: ) falling 0.7
percent to 3,830 yen.

U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) rose on Monday as Citigroup jumped after
reporting its third straight quarterly profit, beating forecasts
and boosting optimism that the banking sector is on track to
recover even amid a tepid economic expansion. [ID:nN18138072]

Shares of Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ) and International Business
Machines Corp (IBM.N: ) slid in after-hours trading after reporting
results, but market analysts in Tokyo said their earnings were
solid and the stock falls were due to the fact the news had run
its course, and they saw little impact on Japanese stocks.
[ID:nN18288374] [ID:nN18152165]

Bank of America (BAC.N: ), reports on Tuesday. Last week
JPMorgan Chase and Co’s (JPM.N: ) profits beat estimates.

Mitsubishi Heavy rose 0.7 percent to 306 yen after the Nikkei
business daily said the company will likely report its first-half
operating profit more than doubled on the year to around 60
billion yen ($738 million), thanks to brisk sales of automotive
components and engines.

Shares of Sumitomo Chemical (4005.T: ) jumped 3.7 percent to
368 yen after Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities upgraded
the stock to “outperform” from “neutral”. The brokerage also
lifted the target share price to 410 yen from 330 yen.
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Nikkei rises 0.5 pct after Citi earnings; yen weighs