The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 99.67 points, or 0.69 percent, from Thursday to 14,435.07. The broader
The key index recovered about 145 points soon after the market opening, but the upward momentum fizzled out amid a lack of fresh buying incentives, sending the index into negative territory shortly before the end of the morning session.
Brokers said investors were cautious about making bullish bets amid lingering concern over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery after U.S. retail sales fell 0.4 percent in January from the previous month, undershooting market expectations.
Also fueling concern over the U.S. labor market, data showed initial jobless claims rose more than expected last week.
"Although the cold weather conditions affected the data, it is difficult to become bullish before confirming a recovery in key economic readings," said
On the First Section, declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 1,359 to 319, while 101 finished the morning unchanged.
By sector, real estate, brokerage, and paper and pulp issues were notable decliners while oil and coal, insurance, and information and communication shares gained ground.
Canon went up
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