Nikkei Stock Exchange
Nikkei Stock Exchange Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

(REUTERS) -- Japan's Nikkei share average fell on Friday for the first time in four days ahead of U.S. jobs data, though Sony Corp (6758.T) soared as investors hoped a new CEO would turn things around after it forecast a $2.9 billion annual loss.

Sony jumped 8.1 percent, while the Topix electric machinery subindex .IELEC.T was the top performing sector, up 1.4 percent.

Sony looks incredibly cheap ... Even though the numbers were bad, they were not the shocking erosion of a fundamental sort in the value of a company's asset that happened two days ago with Sharp (6753.T), the trader said.

Deutsche Bank said most of Sony's losses were impairment losses from exiting a flat panel joint venture with Samsung Electronics (005930.KS), while many divisions in its core operations outperformed guidance and inventory fell to 47 days from 66 days in the second quarter.

Kazuo Hirai, a Sony veteran known for reviving the PlayStation gaming operations through aggressive cost-cutting, replaces Howard Stringer as CEO in April.

There is some confidence in the CEO. It certainly can't get much worse, a sales trader at a foreign brokerage said.

The Nikkei .N225 slipped 0.5 percent to 8,831.93, ending a flat week but still up 4.5 percent this year.

In a bullish signal for stocks, the benchmark's 25-day moving average broke above its 75-day average this week to create a Golden Cross.

The broader Topix .TOPX slipped 0.2 percent to 760.69.

Other gainers in the electric machinery sector included Canon (7751.T), which advanced 2 percent after it said it will buy back up to 50 billion yen ($657 million) of its own shares between February 3 and March 19. Panasonic Corp (6752.T) edged up 1.2 percent ahead of its quarterlyearnings announcement.

The timing was simply right for these shares to spike, as people are buying them back after they shorted ahead of the earnings, said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.

Market players said Tokyo stocks could edge up to 9,000 next week if New York markets react favorably to U.S. jobs numbers due out at 1330 GMT.

According to a Reuters survey, U.S. nonfarm payrolls likely rose by 150,000 after increasing 200,000 in December. The unemployment rate is seen holding steady at a near three-year low of 8.5 percent.

Trading volume gained, with 2.33 billion shares changing hands on the main board, hitting a fresh high since January 20.


Mobile gaming company Gree Inc (3632.T) surged 13.1 percent in what some market participants called the Facebook effect after the Silicon Valley company filed a $5 billion initial public offering on Wednesday.

Gree also outshined Japan's mostly disappointing corporate earnings this week and hiked its profit forecast for the full year to June, citing increased revenues from paid social games.

Its stock traded at more than three times its average 90-day volume. Gree is down 3 percent so far this year but recovering from a five-month low hit last month. It vaulted more than 156 percent last year.

But red ink and restructuring dominated much of the news for corporate Japan.

Nippon Sheet Glass Co (5202.T) slumped 12 percent after forecasting an annual net loss of 3 billion yen compared to an earlier estimate of 14 billion yen profit. It also said it would cut 3,500 jobs and reduce output in Britain.

It has been a trying year for Japan Inc, hit by natural disasters like the last year's earthquakes and the Thai floods while a yen near record highs against the dollar has also rubbed salt into wounds.

The ascendance of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and the popularity of its iPhone and iPad has also hit tech stocks from Nintendo (7974.OS) to NEC Corp (6701.T) to Sony Corp (6758.T)

Out of the 91 Nikkei companies that have reported quarterly figures, two-thirds of them failed to meet market expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. That compares with one-third of S&P 500 .SPX companies.