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Japan shares end mixed as growth stocks drag ahead of U.S. jobs data

TOKYO, June 4 (Reuters) - Japanese shares ended on a mixed note on Friday, weighed down by growth shares, as investors awaited a key U.S. payroll report that could intensify worries over inflation and taper talks from the Federal Reserve.

The Nikkei average ended 0.40% lower at 28,941.52 after two days of gains, while the broader Topix managed to close 0.03% higher at 1,959.19, its fourth straight day of gains.

Growth shares fell by 0.34%, while value shares added 0.37%, as investors sold tech shares and stay-at-home winners ahead of monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls data due later on Friday. A strong reading could raise bets over possible tapering of stimulus measures by the Fed and sap risk appetite.

SoftBank Group, whose Vision Fund owns global tech firm shares, lost 1.3%.

Industrial robot makers posted sizable losses, with Fanuc losing 2.2% and Yaskawa Electric dropping 0.8%.

Some of last year’s star performers crumbled. Medical support service operator M3 shed 5.0% while bicycle maker Shimano shed 2.5%.

Still, the market received some support from Japan’s accelerated vaccination programme ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

“Japan’s slow vaccination had been a reason to sell stocks. But now, about one in 10 people have got at least one shot, which is much better than just 1% about a month ago,” said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

Many railway firms gained, with West Japan Railway adding 1.0% and Central Japan Railway advancing 0.9%.

Investors also scooped up shares of large companies, including Toyota Motor, which gained 1.6% to a record high, having risen in 10 of the last 11 sessions.

Hitachi added 2.1% to hit a 20-year high, while Mitsubishi Chemical rose 2.2% to a two-year high.

Semiconductor firm Lasertec became the most actively traded stock on the main board, rising 0.9% and extending its winning streak to 10 days. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; editing by Uttaresh.V and Ramakrishnan M.)

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