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Tokyo: Nikkei stumbles as strong yen, weak earnings outlook take toll

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Japanese stocks fell on Friday as caution prevailed ahead of a US jobs report, while investors also worried about the impact of a strong yen on corporate profits.

[TOKYO] Japanese stocks fell on Friday as caution prevailed ahead of a US jobs report, while investors also worried about the impact of a strong yen on corporate profits.

The Nikkei share average declined 0.3 per cent to 16,106.72 in its first day of trade following a three-day closure for national holidays. Japan's benchmark index ended the short trading week about 3.4 per cent lower.

During the holiday closure, the yen climbed to a fresh 18-month high against the US dollar, hurting the outlook for exporters and a broad swath of other shares that benefit from a weaker yen.

On Friday, disappointing corporate earnings weighed on Japanese indexes.

Sharp Corp ended 8.5 per cent lower after the Nikkei business daily reported it likely posted a net loss of around 300 billion yen (S$3.81 billion) for the year through March 2016.

Olympus Corp slid 4.6 per cent after the precision instruments company announced a weak profit outlook.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp bucked the weakness, climbing 5.2 per cent on strong April sales in North America and analyst comments that the automaker has the cash to pay compensation associated with its rigging of fuel-economy tests for some vehicles it sold in Japan.

The broader Topix edged down 0.1 per cent to 1,298.32 and ended the shortened trading week about 3.1 per cent lower.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.1 per cent to 11,737.36.

REUTERS