Honda Q3 op profit up 24 pct; jacks up forecasts


TOKYO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co. , Japan's third-biggest auto maker, posted a 23.7 percent jump in quarterly operating profit on Tuesday, helped by soaring sales and a weaker yen, and it jacked up its full-year forecasts partly to account for currency windfalls.

Honda, also the world's top motorcycle maker, made an operating profit of 194.99 billion yen ($1.66 billion) in the October-December third quarter, beating a consensus estimate of 187 billion yen in a survey by Reuters Estimates.

For the full year to March the maker of the popular Civic sedan raised its operating profit forecast to 860 billion yen from 675 billion yen, which would have been up 7 percent on last year.

Third-quarter net profit fell to 133.15 billion yen, down 11.7 percent from a year earlier, when Honda booked one-off valuation gains. Most of Honda's Japanese rivals are also expected to report strong profit gains as they ride a softer yen and a solid global sales expansion, notably in North America at the expense of General Motor Corp. and Ford Motor Co. .

Honda shares rose 4.8 percent in October-December, underperforming an 18.7 percent gain by the Nikkei average and the transport sector's 12.3 percent rise. ($1=117.67 Yen)



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