TOKYO, Jan 10 Japan's Nikkei benchmark eked out
a slight gain on Friday, though it still suffered its worst
weekly loss since October, while Uniqlo clothing chain operator
Fast Retailing Co Ltd climbed after its quarterly earnings beat
The Nikkei ended 0.2 percent higher at 15,912.06
ahead of the release of the U.S. jobs report later in the day.
The benchmark Nikkei was down 2.3 percent this week, marking
its biggest weekly decline since the period ended Oct. 25. It
surged 57 percent last year to log its best annual rise since
1972, driven by Japan's massive fiscal and monetary stimulus
Fast Retailing climbed 3.3 percent on Friday and
was the top-weighted gainer in the Nikkei after it posted a
higher-than-expected first-quarter profit.
The U.S. nonfarm payrolls report, due out later in the day,
will further signal how the world's largest economy is faring -
and therefore, how fast the Federal Reserve will dial back
stimulus. Economists polled by Reuters have forecast 196,000
jobs were added to the U.S. economy in December.
The broader Topix index closed 0.1 percent higher at
1,298.48, with 3.26 billion shares changing hands, hitting a
one-month high. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, which
started trading on Monday, was steady at 11,706.87.