TOKYO, March 3 Japanese stocks fell on Friday as
investors took profits before the weekend, after hitting a
14-month high the previous day on rising expectations for a U.S.
interest rate hike this month.
Bucking the weakness, index-heavyweight Fast Retailing Co
Ltd rose 2.1 percent on strong monthly sales, adding a
hefty 29 positive points to the index.
The Nikkei dropped 0.5 percent to 19,469.17 points,
after climbing to as high as 19,668.01 on Thursday, the highest
intraday level since December 2015.
The Nikkei rose 1.0 percent this week.
Analysts said that many investors were on the sidelines
awaiting a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen later in
the day, which could provide the strongest indication yet about
an interest rate move in coming weeks. The Fed's next
policy-setting meeting was set for March 14-15.
The broader Topix dropped 0.4 percent to 1,558.05
and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 fell 0.5 percent to
(Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)