Mizuho Financial Group, one of Japan's Big Four banks, yesterday sharply lifted its earnings forecast for the first fiscal half ending Sept. 30, citing a decline in bad loan write-off costs. \nMizuho, the world's biggest bank in terms of assets, expects a ?230 billion (US$2.1 billion) profit for the six-month period, up from ?100 billion (US$901 million) projected earlier. \nMizuho Financial Group kept the outlook for group operating revenue the same from the earlier projection in May of ?1.6 trillion (US$14 billion). Mizuho said it will release its earnings forecast for the full fiscal year through March when it announces interim results in November. \nMizuho shares have more than tripled since March on signs that Japan's economic recovery is gathering momentum, making it easier for borrowers to repay loans. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi last month reiterated his resolve to clean up US$384 billion of bad loans remaining at Mizuho and other lenders. \n"Japanese bank stocks have become a leveraged play on the market and to an extent on the economy as a whole," said Jonathan Allum, Japan strategist at KBC Financial Products UK Ltd. in London. "The wind is blowing in the right direction. When it's good it's very good, when it bad it's horrid." \n`This revision offers further confirmation for investors that Japan's banks are likely to return to profit in their current business year after two years of losses," said Nedeltcho Akov, a banking analyst at ING Securities Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. \nMizuho and other Japanese banks have pledged to turn into the black this year after posting massive losses over the past two or three years. The nation's recent economic recovery and the rise on the Tokyo stock exchange have helped the performance of Japan's banks, which have been struggling with loans gone sour. \nJapan's economy has gradually recovered from a long slowdown in recent months.
‘FINGERPRINTING’: The ‘private relay’ feature hides a user’s IP address by rerouting the Web connection through a third party, making it impossible to infer their identity Apple Inc on Monday said a new “private relay” feature designed to obscure a user’s Web browsing behavior from Internet service providers and advertisers would not be available in China for regulatory reasons. The feature was one of a number of privacy protections Apple announced at its annual software developer conference on Monday, the latest in a years-long effort by the company to cut down on the tracking of its users by advertisers and other third parties. Apple’s decision to withhold the feature in China is the latest in a string of compromises the company has made on privacy in a country
PLEDGE: The contract chipmaker said it would issue at least NT$2.5 a share each quarter and no less than NT$10 per share for the whole of this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday raised its proposed cash dividend for last quarter to NT$2.75 per share from NT$2.5 a year earlier, given the company’s increased earnings. That represents a payout ratio of about 51 percent based on its earnings per share of NT$5.39 in the first three months of this year. TSMC said that its board of directors approved the cash dividend distribution yesterday. The Hsinchu-based chipmaker reassured its investors that it intends to maintain a stable and sustainable dividend policy. The company said that it would issue at least NT$2.5 a share
TIMELY RAIN: Before the arrival of the seasonal plum rains late last month, the nation had gone almost a year without significant rainfall in catchment areas Timely plum rains have significantly alleviated a historic water shortage in Taiwan, allowing water restriction measures to be lifted in some areas, while the hardest-hit areas remain on alert, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday. “Thanks to Tropical Storm Choi-Wan, the sustained plum rains and continued water resource management efforts, the water situation in Taiwan has been greatly alleviated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美華) told an online news conference. More than 100mm of rain has fallen in the catchment areas of the reservoirs in Miaoli and Taichung counties over the past few days, Water Resources Agency data
Apple Inc has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric vehicle (EV) division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts, people familiar with the situation said. The tech giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as CEO of Canoo Inc, a developer of self-driving EVs. Before cofounding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years. Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a