TOKYO: Tokyo shares ended flat Thursday, losing early gains driven by Wall Street's rally as exporters took a hit from the yen's rise, while weak China data also weighed.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index inched up 0.43 points to finish at 14,300.12, after rising 1.11 percent in morning exchanges.
The Topix index of all first-section shares edged 0.08 percent, or 0.95 points, lower to 1,149.49.
Investors' spirits brightened after US stocks gained on minutes from the US Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting, which showed little appetite among policymakers for a speedy rise in benchmark interest rates.
Wall Street cheered the news. The Dow jumped 1.11 percent, the S&P 500 advanced 1.09 percent and the tech-rich Nasdaq added 1.72 percent.
But the Nikkei turned down as the yen rose to 101.78 against the dollar, from 101.97 in New York Wednesday.
"The overnight US Fed minutes, showing a more market-friendly stance than previously thought, was not dollar positive," Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.
Denting sentiment was Chinese trade data that showed a sharp drop in exports and imports, adding to increasing uncertainty about the Asian economic giant and key driver of global and regional growth following a string of weak indicators.
Shortly before the market opened, the Japanese government said the nation's core machinery orders fell 8.8 percent in February from the previous month.
The data indicated that businesses were expecting economic growth to remain tepid for most of the year following a sales tax increase at the beginning of April.
Sony fell 0.84 percent to 1,879 yen while Toyota turned down 2.37 percent to 5,321 yen, extending the previous day's losses after it recalled 6.39 million vehicles globally over a string of problems, dealing another blow to its reputation for quality and safety.
Canon rose 0.57 to 3,155 yen while Japan Airlines added 1.21 percent to finish at 5,000 yen.
Fast Retailing lost 1.44 percent to close at 36,710 yen. The Uniqlo clothing chain operator said after markets closed that net profit in the first half of its fiscal year was down 1.4 percent from a year earlier. (AFP)