Japan's Nikkei ends lower ahead of US jobs data

Japanese investors Image copyright EPA

Japanese stocks ended lower as investors took a cautious approach ahead of the latest US jobs figures.

The unemployment figures, due out later, are seen as one of the main factors affecting the timing of any rate rise by the US Federal Reserve.

US companies are expected to have created 175,000 jobs in June after a disappointing 38,000 in May.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 1.11% to end at 15,106.98, while the Topix index lost 1.3% to 1,209.88.

"The Fed is likely to keep its cautious stance. More jobs data will be necessary to ensure that the recovery of the labour market is entrenched," said Cynthia Jane Kalasopatan from Mizuho Bank.

"Overall, if non-farm payrolls continue to point to solid job gains in coming months, then the Fed may be comfortable to hike policy rate once this year especially if there is more clarity as regards to Brexit risks."

Japan's share market also had to digest weaker-than-expected data, with figures showing Japan's wage growth turned negative in May.

Labour cash earnings, a measure of worker pay including bonuses, fell 0.2% from a year earlier.

That is the first time the measure has contracted in a year. Estimates were for a 0.5% rise.

Japan also reported disappointing trade data. Its current account surplus narrowed to $18bn in May, which was below economist expectations.

However, shares in Nintendo jumped nearly 9% on hopes its Pokemon GO smartphone game will prove a success.

Other Asian markets also fell on Friday. In South Korea, the benchmark Kospi index ended 0.6% weaker at 1,963.10.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index finished 0.7% lower at 20,564.17 while the Shanghai Composite closed down 1% at 2,988.09.

Australia's ASX 200 edged up 0.05% to close at 5,230.50.