* Sony soars on strong midterm outlook on chips business
* Nikkei so far down 3.2 pct for the week
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, Feb 3 Japan's Nikkei edged down in choppy
trade on Friday, as investors awaited the release of the U.S.
monthly jobs report that will set the tone for the Federal
Reserve's policy outlook, while bank stocks outperformed on
The Nikkei dropped 0.4 percent to 18,843.67 points
in mid-morning trade after flirting with positive territory. The
benchmark index has fallen 3.2 percent so far this week.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls data is due out later on Friday and is
expected to show employers added 175,000 jobs in January,
according to the median of 102 economists polled by Reuters.
The market was also closely watching individual earnings
releases, with sentiment so far generally positive, analysts
said. Many companies have raised their full-year profit
forecasts due to a weakening yen.
"So far, investors seem happy with companies' third quarter
earnings," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at
But he also said the yen would likely be volatile due to
concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump's trade and
"There is still uncertainty in developments in dollar-yen
levels, so we can't stay too optimistic about the current
quarter," Miura said.
Shares of Sony Corp jumped 6 percent, as its
mainstay semiconductor business offset a $1 billion writedown in
its picture business.
Investors expect Sony to grow in such areas as
semiconductors, games and entertainment, with traders saying the
company's mid-term strategies look promising despite the
problems at its picture business.
Bank stocks outperformed after the 10-year benchmark JGB
yield rose to as high as 0.150 percent, its
highest since late January 2016. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Inc rose 1.4 percent and Mizuho Financial Group Inc
gained 1.1 percent.
The broader Topix was flat at 1,510.83 and the
JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.1 percent to 13,538.85.
(Editing by Randy Fabi)