Stocks rose slightly in thin trading Friday as investors waited for the U.S. government’s employment statistics.

The 225-issue Nikkei average advanced 68.46 points, or 0.32 percent, to end at 21,410.20 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. On Thursday, the key market gauge sank 436.87 points.

The Topix index of all issues listed on the TSE’s first section finished up 4.03 points, or 0.26 percent, at 1,572.90, after shedding 27.42 points the previous day.

Trading was generally sluggish as market players waited for U.S. nonfarm payroll data and the employment rate for September. Both were to be released by the U.S. Labor Department later on Friday, brokers said.

The market got off to a weak start, with investor sentiment dampened by a stronger yen and the U.S. Institute for Supply Management’s lower than expected nonmanufacturing index for September, which was announced on Thursday, brokers said.

Both gauges continued to fluctuate in a narrow range slightly under Thursday’s closing levels before climbing to the sunny side in the early afternoon, buoyed partly by robust cyclical stocks, including semiconductor-related issues.

Brokers said the market was pressured by yen’s appreciation against the dollar for the entire day.

“A wide range of issues attracted thin buying amid a wait-and-see mood,” Chihiro Ota, general manager for investment research and investor services at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., said of the uptick in the afternoon.

Pointing to September’s dismal U.S. manufacturing index announced Tuesday by ISM, employment data released Wednesday by Automatic Data Processing Inc., and the ISM nonmanufacturing index released Thursday, Ota said the market was hunting for clues on the outlook for the U.S. economy.

“Market players are focused on the employment statistics to see whether the results show worsening (in the U.S. economy) for four (economic statistics) in a row.”

Rising issues slightly outnumbered falling ones 1,191 to 858 in the first section while 102 issues stayed unchanged.

Volume dropped to 1.103 billion shares from Thursday’s 1.223 billion.

Tokyo Electron, Screen and other semiconductor-related issues attracted buying, following a climb in their U.S. peers on Thursday.

Apple-related issues rose, buoyed by a report that the U.S. technology giant made an upward revision to its production plan for the iPhone 11, with Murata Manufacturing finishing up 1.85 percent and TDK up 1.12 percent.

Nihon Enterprise surged 25.88 percent, after the smartphone app developer said it will join the Monet Consortium, which promotes partnerships between companies for autonomous driving.

Among other major winners were NH Foods and mobile phone carrier KDDI.

On the other hand, Mitsubishi UFJ and other mega-bank groups met with selling in response to a drop in their U.S. peers on Thursday amid growing expectations for an interest rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Also on the negative side were engineering firm JGC and drug maker Takeda.

In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key December contract on the Nikkei average rose 50 points to end at 21,320.

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