Tokyo shares finish mixed

Tokyo stocks ended Wednesday's session mixed, as a weaker yen helped the benchmark Nikkei 225 index shrug off morning losses.

The Nikkei added 0.39 percent, or 36.38 points, to 9,468.84, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares ended flat, edged down 0.11 points to 781.86.

"The downside appears limited at this point, and signs of technical strength are encouraging players to stay in the market, as many are becoming convinced that the days of the ultra-strong yen could be behind us," an equity trader at foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.

In currency markets, the euro bought $1.3110 and 107.84 yen, from $1.3096 and 107.22 yen in New York trade on Tuesday.

The greenback fetched 82.25 yen, from 81.88 yen.

The dollar and euro both jumped on the yen after the Bank of Japan's Deputy Governor Kiyohiko Nishimura said Wednesday that the BoJ "has been and will always be ready to take appropriate and decisive action" on the economy.

The yen has been under pressure as Japan's main opposition leader Shinzo Abe, the frontrunner to become the nation's next prime minister, repeatedly said he would push the BoJ to usher in more aggressive easing measures.

A weaker yen tends to support the Tokyo stock market as it helps the nation's manufacturers by making their products more competitive overseas.

Some major exporters trimmed early losses but still ended in negative territory, with Honda closing down 0.66 percent at 2,705 yen and Canon slipping 0.34 percent at 2,924 yen.

Nissan climbed 0.38 percent to 780 yen while Fast Retailing finished 2.99 percent higher at 19,250 after its Uniqlo cheap chic clothing chain posted a 13.7 percent rise in November same-store sales in Japan.

Cash-strapped Sharp jumped 4.02 percent to 181 yen after the struggling electronics giant said it had struck a capital injection deal with US-based chipmaker Qualcomm.

US markets closed in negative territory on Tuesday as Washington lawmakers wrangled over a budget plan that would avoid the fiscal cliff package of tax hikes and spending cuts widely expected to tip the economy into recession if they take effect.

Worries about the world's largest economy are mounting in the face of weak November manufacturing data and expected weak non-farm payrolls later in the week.

--

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