Mizuho net falls 25 percent, plans 3,000 job cuts
TOKYO (Reuters) - Mizuho Financial Group maintained its full-year net profit forecast on Monday after reporting that first-half profit fell 25.4 percent, weighed down by the absence of hefty bond trading gains that lifted its profits the previous year.
Japan's top three banks are announcing their first-half results on Monday, and Mizuho, the second-largest by assets, had been expected to lag rivals.
Results of the other two, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, are expected to show they are on track to beat their full-year forecasts.
Unlike their Western rivals, Japanese banks largely escaped the brunt of Europe's debt crisis due to limited exposure to the region, while bad-loan costs remained low at home as the number of bankruptcies in Japan continued to decline.
Mizuho said net profit was 254.67 billion yen ($3.3 billion) for April-September, down from 341.76 billion yen in the same period last year. Second-quarter profit fell to 158.31 billion yen from 191.91 billion yen in the year-ago period, according to Reuters calculations from first-half and first-quarter figures.
For the full year to next March, the bank kept its net profit forecast at 460 billion yen, above an estimate of a 433.9 billion yen by Thomson Reuters Starmine's SmartEstimate.
The bank also said on Monday that it plans to cut 3,000 jobs, or about 5 percent of its work force, by March 2016 through the merger of its corporate and retail banking units.
Shares of Mizuho have fallen 33 percent so far this year, compared with a 16 percent drop in the benchmark Nikkei average.
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Michael Watson)
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