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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei share average dipped on Friday, as heavyweight technology shares tracked their US peers lower, while traders continued to position themselves carefully ahead of the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) meeting next week.

The Nikkei was down 0.14% at 38,751.54 by the midday break.

Although the benchmark index snapped a string of losses in the previous session, it was still set for its largest weekly drop since early December.

The index has lost 2.4% so far this week.

The declines come as tech-related shares, which helped to lift the index above 40,000 points earlier this month, followed US chipmaker Nvidia lower as investors continued to lock in profits.

The US index of semiconductors dropped 1.8%.

Shares of chip-testing equipment maker Advantest, which counts Nvidia among its customers, and chip-making equipment giant Tokyo Electron were down 1.7% and 3.3%, respectively.

Advantest was among some of the worst performers for the week, losing more than 7%.

“I think investors are keeping a close eye on the impact of the US stock market slump and the results of the Rengo’s wage growth survey,” T&D Asset Management Chief Strategist Hiroshi Namioka said.

Japan’s Nikkei reverses course to end higher

The preliminary results of Japan’s spring wage negotiations were due later in the day, which will play a key role in the BOJ’s decision on March 18-19. Speculations have grown that the BOJ could end its negative interest rate policy at its meeting, weighing on the Nikkei index.

Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said on Friday the nation’s economy is no longer in deflation, and a strong trend of wage hikes is taking place.

Losses in the Nikkei were limited by strength in the energy sector, with energy explorers up 4.4%, while oil and coal production firms gained 3.1%.

Shares of heavyweights SoftBank Group Corp and Uniqlo parent firm Fast Retailing edged higher.

The broader Topix was up 0.58% at 2676.95.

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