The Nikkei stock index edged down 0. 08 percent Friday as investors opted to lock in gains following the market's five-month closing high the previous day and positive performance by U.S. shares on Wall Street overnight.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 11.74 points to end the week at 15,349.42, while the Topix index of all first-section shares dropped 0.12 points, or 0.01 percent, to finish at 1,268.92.
Market players indicated that following the market's three-day winning streak it was no surprise that investors wanted to secure profits ahead of the weekend, as there were no major catalysts nudging them to chase assets higher.
Tokai Tokyo Securities' market analyst, Seiichi Suzuki, noted that after five weeks of rallies it was natural for share prices to come down a little bit and with the health of the U.S. economy seemingly on track, with the latest jobs data showing that unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 people to 312,000 in the week to June 14, the market was ripe to lock in gains.
That said, however, other analysts like Hiroichi Nishi, an equities manager at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., suggested that as the U.S. economy continues to show increasing signs of recovery, with U.S. shares showing great resilience, Japanese shares, still deemed undervalued, will have to catch up, amid signs the market here may be overheating.
Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co. also added that some investors are eyeing a further rise in U. S. stocks and a weaker yen, before assuming new positions.
The U.S. dollar changed hands at 101.91 yen in currency trading today in Tokyo, slightly down from 101.94 yen logged in New York on Thursday.
Consumer electronics maker Panasonic closed in positive territory, however, adding 0.6 percent to close at 1,246 yen, following reports of a major restructuring initiative that will see its R&D division downsized, with personnel being moved to its housing and automotive sectors, with more changes in the pipeline in the long term.
Isuzu Motors was another winner on Friday, jumping 3.6 percent to 695 yen, following JPMorgan beginning its coverage with an " overweight" rating for the automaker and a target price of 800 yen.
But Mitsubishi Heavy Industries came under pressure and ended the week lower, retreating 1.09 percent to 630 yen, following raising their offer along with partner Siemens to acquire French Alstom's energy assets.
Oil and gas producers also dragged the market down, owing to supply concerns stemming from the Iraq conflict, and Cosmo Oil sank 1.8 percent to 219 yen, while Idemitsu Kosan Co. retreated two percent to finish at 2,175 yen.
Takeda Pharmaceutical was in the spotlight on the last trading day of the week, falling 0.7 percent to 4,841 yen, after the pharmaceutical firm said it would discontinue clinical trials of a drug called orteronel, or TAK-700, for prostate cancer, after conducting clinical testing and concluding the drug has not demonstrated a clinical profile sufficient to move forward.
Trading volume on Friday rose to 2.59 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, up from Thursday's volume of 2.77 billion shares, with declining issues beating advancing ones by 1, 040 to 636.