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Japan brokerage Nomura swings to Q2 profit thanks to trading business

TOKYO -- Japan's top brokerage Nomura Holdings said Monday that it swung to a profit in its fiscal second quarter, reversing a year-earlier loss thanks to solid gains in its trading business.

However, the figure fell well short of expectations as Nomura, which is trying to move on from an embarrassing insider trading scandal, retools its operations in a bid to cut US$1 billion in costs.

For the July to September quarter, the company posted a net profit of 2.81 billion yen (US$35.2 million), reversing a year-ago loss of 46.1 billion yen well off a consensus forecast for a 32.27 billion net profit based on a survey by FactSet Research Systems.

Revenue was 461.23 billion yen, up 22 percent from a year ago, Nomura said.

The company said its improved results came despite the fact that β€œthe market environment was severe ... with concerns over a slowdown in the Chinese economy as well as the European crisis.”

Income from trading β€” which was pounded by the market turmoil set off by the European debt crisis last year β€” reached 88.93 billion yen from 25.98 billion yen a earlier, Nomura said.

Nomura's results were the first since it announced a major shakeup in top management three months ago, with chief executive Kenichi Watanabe resigning in the wake of an internal report that said sales staff improperly tipped off clients about share sales.

Information often flowed freely between sales and Nomura's investment banking and research side, which is usually barred, the report said.

Since the insider trading scandal, Nomura has been dumped from several bond and share sales including once-bankrupt Japan Airlines' offering last month and the government's planned sale of its stake in Japan Tobacco.

For the six months to September, Nomura said it swung back in the black with a net profit of 4.7 billion yen, from a loss of 28.3 billion yen a year earlier. Revenue rose 11.9 percent to 900.82 billion yen.

Last month, Nomura it would slash US$1 billion in costs to repair its balance sheet, including a re-focus on the Asian market.

The move marked the final nail in the coffin of the firm's ill-fated plan to itself transform into a global investment banking giant after buying parts of defunct Wall Street titan Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis.

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