Asian shares mixed ahead of jobs report from the US

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Shares in Asia were in mixed territory on Friday ahead of a closely watched US monthly jobs report.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 closed down 1.32% to 16,819.59 points as a stronger yen against the dollar hurt the country's big exporters for a second day.

Toyota and Honda shares finished the day down about 2%, while Mazda shed nearly 5%.

At the close of trade, Toyota reported a 4.7% rise in net income for the three months to December.

However, the firm's operating profit for the quarter fell by 5.3%, missing forecasts.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 spent the day in negative territory and closed flat, down 0.08% to 16,819.59.

The country's big lenders had weighed on the market and analysts said traders were being cautious ahead of a US jobs report due out later.

Energy firms regained lost territory late in the day, however, with Woodside finishing up 0.41% and rival Santos up 2.2%. Mining giant BHP finished up close to 5%.

Official numbers released earlier showed Australia's retail sales had come in flat for the month of December - a 0.4% gain was expected. But analysts said the numbers still supported economic growth.

"December quarter real retail sales rose by 0.6%, which was less than expected, but similar to the last few quarters," said AMP Capital's head economist Shane Oliver.

"It implies that consumer spending has again helped support December quarter GDP growth," he added.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng was up 0.4% to 19,255.88 points in afternoon trade, while the mainland's benchmark Shanghai Composite closed down 0.63% to 2,763.49.

South Korea's Kospi index closed flat, up just 0.08% to 1,917.79.

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