Toyota's operating profit nearly doubles

Toyota shrugged off the health crisis slump and global chip shortage on Wednesday (May 5), reporting that its fourth-quarter operating profit nearly doubled since last year.

The world's biggest automaker by vehicle sales also announced a $2.3 billion share buyback, and forecast annual profit will rise by 14% to pre-pandemic levels.

It says that will largely be driven by renewed demand in its biggest market - the United States.

Toyota predicts overall sales will grow 6.4% to 10.55 million vehicles for the year.

Its shares rose just over 2% after the results were released.

But it was a different story for smaller rival Nissan.

Its shares tumbled around 10% after releasing weaker-than-expected guidance for the current fiscal year.

Toyota surprised rivals and investors last quarter when it said output would not be significantly disrupted by ongoing chip shortages.

Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford, among others, have been forced to slow or suspend some production.

The global auto industry has been grappling with that shortage since late last year, and has seen it worsen in recent months.

Japan's second-biggest automaker, Honda, is due to report its annual results on Friday (May 14).