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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed lower on Thursday, as investors sidestepped active trading on a shortage of fresh clues.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index ended down 0.07 percent or 21.81 points at 29,708.98 while the broader Topix index slipped 0.79 percent or 15.57 points to close at 1,951.86.

"Japanese shares are seen trading in a narrow range with lack of fresh clues for trading after mixed close on Wall Street," Mizuho Securities said in a commentary.

Investors are "taking a wait-and-see attitude ahead of the corporate earnings season in Japan," it said.

The dollar fetched 109.63 yen in Asian trade, against 109.84 yen in New York late Wednesday.

Toshiba ended down 0.44 percent at 4,510 yen after a report said a British private equity firm offered a 5,000 yen-a-share condition as part of a buyout offer the Japanese firm is mulling.

Hitachi Metal jumped 4.85 percent to 1,901 yen after a report said its parent Hitachi has given preferential negotiating rights for a sale of the metals unit to a consortium of investment funds led by the US equity fund Bain Capital in a possible deal estimated to top 800 billion yen ($7.27 billion).

Hitachi slipped 0.87 percent to 5,002 yen.

Chip-testing equipment manufacturer Advantest dropped 2.84 percent to 10,610 yen, Toyota ended down 0.81 percent at 8,418 yen, and Panasonic was off 2.92 percent at 1,364 yen.

Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing was up 1.66 percent at 90,980 yen ahead of reporting its earnings for the six months to February after the market close.

The casual wear operator posted a 22 percent rise in operating profit and revised up full-year sales and profit forecasts.