TOKYO: The Nikkei share average recouped most of its morning losses to end nearly flat on Friday, with investors avoiding making big bets ahead of a key US jobs report and a three-day weekend in Japan.
The Nikkei closed 0.03% lower at 28,478.56, while the broader Topix slipped 0.07%. For the week, the Nikkei dropped 1% after four straight weeks of gains, while the Topix rose about 0.2% in its fifth straight weekly rise.
Semiconductor stocks dragged both indexes lower, with Advantest sliding 0.65% and Tokyo Electron declining 0.14%.
Uniqlo store operator Fast Retailing shed 0.35%.
"It's a difficult time to take positions, ahead of the US jobs report and a three-day weekend," said a market participant at a domestic securities firm.
"There isn't any strong reason to buy stocks today, after US stocks traded sideways overnight," said a market participant at another domestic securities firm.
The S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower on Thursday, ahead of the US non-farm payrolls due later on Friday, which could strengthen Federal Reserve officials' resolve for an early and speedy pace of monetary policy normalisation.
Expectations for three quarter-point US rate increases this year have driven Treasury yields to multi-month highs.
That lifted shares of banks and other financial institutions in Japan. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumped 3.44%.
Energy shares also rose, supported by higher crude oil prices.
SoftBank Group was the Nikkei's biggest winner by index points, with a 2.18% rally.
The Topix value-share index rose 0.52%, compared with a 0.65% slide in the growth-share index.