Tokyo stocks have ended flat on late profit-taking as investors await the release of key US jobs data.
The Nikkei-225 index on Friday edged down 0.05 per cent, or 8.11 points, to 15,063.77, while the Topix index of all first-section shares slipped 0.07 per cent, or 0.88 points, to 1,215.89.
The headline Nikkei index gained ground in morning trading, adding to a 0.84 per cent gain on Thursday, but some investors opted to cash in, while others held back to until the US non-farm payrolls data later in the day, dealers said.
“Players refrained from trading actively today following the recent rise and ahead of US jobs data,” said Shunichi Umeda, a broker at Tokai Tokyo Securities. “Consensus is that the figures will show a positive sign.”
The report will give a clearer idea about the US recovery than recent readings, which were skewed by severe winter weather at the turn of the year.
While a strong figure will be welcomed, there are fears that the numbers could be too good for the Federal Reserve’s liking.
Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, said: “Solid jobs data is welcome, but numbers too robust may spark fears that the Fed may actually accelerate stimulus tapering.”
That could result in “another roiling effect”, he said.
The US Federal Reserve’s decision to start winding down its stimulus program and fears of capital flight triggered sell-offs in emerging markets earlier this year.
On forex markets, the US dollar bought Y103.84, against Y103.94 in New York on Thursday.
In stocks trading, Sony rose 0.15 per cent to Y1,994, Toyota fell 0.82 per cent to Y5,792 and Nissan rose 0.85 per cent to Y947.