* Fast Retailing lifts Nikkei, while Topix drops
* Yaskawa’s earnings pull down Fanuc, Keyence
* Lawson jumps on strong quarterly results
By Ayai Tomisawa
TOKYO, July 12 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei edged higher in choppy trade on Friday, helped by index heavyweight Fast Retailing, but weak profits from some firms such as Yaskawa Electric dragged on machinery stocks.
In afternoon trade, virtual currency exchange operator Remixpoint Inc started tumbling and ended 19% lower after saying it had detected an improper leak of virtual currency worth around 3.5 billion yen.
The Nikkei share average ended 0.2% higher at 21,685.90 points. For the week, it fell 0.3%, its first such drop in six weeks.
Fast Retailing jumped 3.2% and contributed a hefty 79 points to the Nikkei. The operator of Uniqlo clothing stores posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit, but said full-year results were on track to reach a record high.
However, the broader Topix shed 0.2% to 1,576.31. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 1,356 to 703.
As Japanese markets will be closed for a holiday on Monday, investors refrained from taking large positions, analysts said.
They said that the market will likely focus on quarterly earnings results from U.S. and Japanese companies next week.
On Thursday, Yaskawa Electric, a motion control equipment maker with exposure in China, kicked off the earnings season and reported a 58% fall in its operating profit for the March-May quarter. That caused its stock price to fall 3.9% on Friday. Yaskawa’s results are monitored closely by investors as the firm is seen as an indicator of Chinese demand.
“As the market has already priced in a U.S. rate cut this month and there are few other major macro events in the near future, the next focus is whether there are further U.S. rate cuts for the rest of the year,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Takahashi said investors are keen for clues on business sentiment and will look to company earnings for direction.
Yaskawa’s weak results took a toll on other machinery stocks. Fanuc Corp dropped 2%, Keyence Corp shed 1.5% and SMC Corp sank 2.4%.
Convenience store Lawson Inc jumped 4.6% after its first-quarter operating profit rose 12.4%, thanks to strong sales from upscale supermarket chain Seijo Ishii Co which Lawson had acquired.
Editing by Kim Coghill