TOKYO: Japan's Nikkei share average struggled for traction on Wednesday and the broader Topix dipped after weak U.S. economic data stoked fears of a global recession and soured investor sentiment.
The benchmark Nikkei average ended up 0.12% at 20,649.14 points, while the broader Topix dropped 0.26% to 1,506.81.
U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in three years in August, with new orders and hiring declining sharply as trade tensions weighed on business confidence, data showed on Tuesday.
Cyclical sectors came under pressure, with metal products , iron and steel among worst performing sectors on the Topix.
"The weak U.S. ISM data underscored the view that a recession is highly probable. Global investors are preparing for it in a sombre manner," said Yasuo Sakuma, chief investment officer at Libra Investments.
Nikkei heavyweight Fast Retailing gained 0.9% after the clothing chain operator said same-store sales at its Uniqlo outlets in Japan rose 9.9% in August from a year earlier.
Nintendo rose 2.6% on hopes of product updates or announcements after the gaming company said it will broadcast a pre-recorded "Nintendo Direct" global presentation on Thursday morning, Japan time. (2200 GMT on Wednesday).
Elsewhere, Kakaku.com climbed 1.6%, buoyed by hopes of a potential inclusion of the Nikkei average in the periodic review of its constituents.
Other candidates Zozo and M3 were also in demand, adding 0.2% and 1.2%, respectively, while Nintendo found an extra tailwind from this.
Review results of the Nikkei constituents are due as early as this week.
Other notable movers include TSE REIT index, advancing 0.9%, moving closer to the 12-year peak hit two weeks ago.