[TOKYO] Japanese stocks fell on Friday as investors took profits before the weekend, after hitting a 14-month high the previous day on rising expectations for a US interest rate hike this month.
Bucking the weakness, index-heavyweight Fast Retailing Co Ltd rose 2.1 per cent on strong monthly sales, adding a hefty 29 positive points to the index.
The Nikkei dropped 0.5 per cent to 19,469.17 points, after climbing to as high as 19,668.01 on Thursday, the highest intraday level since December 2015.
The Nikkei rose 1.0 per cent this week.
Analysts said that many investors were on the sidelines awaiting a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in the day, which could provide the strongest indication yet about an interest rate move in coming weeks. The Fed's next policy-setting meeting was set for March 14-15.
The broader Topix dropped 0.4 per cent to 1,558.05 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.5 per cent to 13,955.44.