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Japan's Nikkei edges lower before key U.S. economic data

TOKYO, June 1 (Reuters) - Japan’s benchmark index ended slightly lower on Tuesday as investors awaited two key U.S. economic reports, though declines were capped by hopes of a domestic economic normalisation on delayed-but-steady rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Nikkei share average inched down 0.16% to close at 28,814.34, while the broader Topix inched up 0.17% to 1,926.18.

“Investors want to confirm the strength of U.S. recovery from the factory and jobs data to be announced later,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

U.S. factory activity numbers will be released on Tuesday, while payrolls data, due on Friday, will be the main event of the week. Median jobs forecasts are pegged at 650,000, but the outcome is uncertain following April’s unexpectedly weak 266,000 gain.

Among shares and sectors in Japan, steel and drug makers led the Nikkei’s declines, with JFE Holdings falling 4.32% and Nippon Steel losing 3.36%.

Daiichi Sankyo fell 2.57% and Chugai Pharmaceutical lost 1.95%.

IHI jumped 5.82% after Nomura Securities changed its rating for the heavy-industry manufacturer, while its peer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries gained 3.35% after the brokerage raised its target price.

Renesas Electronics gained 3.32% even as the chipmaker said restoring full production capacity at a fire-damaged chip plant would take longer than expected.

The stock that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix names was Toyota Motor, up 3.38 %, followed by Murata Manufacturing, which rose 2.05%.

Daiichi Sankyo was the worst performer among the top 30 core Topix names, followed by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone which lost 1.93%.

Reporting by Junko Fujita; editing by Uttaresh.V and Devika Syamnath

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