Tokyo stocks have edged lower by close, tracking a regional decline as investors await a European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting later in the day amid expectations it will cut interest rates.
The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Thursday finished 0.27 per cent lower, or 24.37 points, at 9,079.80, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares gave up 0.30 per cent, or 2.33 points, at 776.37.
Wall Street was closed on Wednesday for a holiday while European bourses were little changed in subdued trade, offering up few leads for Tokyo markets.
"Market energy is lacking as investors are reluctant to make aggressive bets before possible overseas news," said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi.
Dealers expect an ECB rate cut on Thursday along with a Bank of England move for an additional $US78 billion ($A76.15 billion) in stimulus to boost recession-hit Britain.
The ECB, convening for its regular monthly policy meeting, will trim eurozone borrowing costs by a quarter of a percentage point to a new record low of 0.75 per cent, central bank watchers have predicted.
The meeting comes after European leaders last week agreed to a surprise deal to help the ailing eurozone, while investors would now look ahead to US jobs data on Friday, dealers said.
There is speculation that disappointing employment figures will prompt a new round of quantitative easing by the US Federal Reserve.
Shortly before markets closed on Thursday, the Bank of Japan said it had upgraded its view of the nation's regional economies in July because of stronger domestic demand, but fears about the impact of the eurozone crisis remained.
In Tokyo trade, All Nippon Airways rose 1.53 per cent to Y198, rebounding after the stock plunged earlier this week on news it would issue additional shares to raise about Y200 billion ($A2.44 billion).
Struggling chipmaker Renesas Electronics gained 1.44 per cent to Y350, after it said earlier this week it was looking to save Y43 billion annually, mostly by slashing at least 5,000 jobs.
Sony was up 0.27 per cent to Y1,099, Toyota Motor gained 0.31 per cent to Y3,225 while rival automaker Nissan declined 0.92 per cent to Y750.
On currency markets, the euro bought $US1.2524 and Y99.85, compared with $US1.2527 and Y99.97 in London on Wednesday afternoon.
The dollar was quoted at Y79.72 against Y79.80 in London.
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