TOKYO, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Japanese shares were largely unchanged on Friday, though optimism on U.S.-China rapprochement on a trade deal underpinned the market, especially cyclical value shares.
As of 0214 GMT, the Nikkei share average was down 0.03% at 23,918.90, still not far from 14-month top of 24,901 touched early December while the broader Topix gained 0.22% to 1,734.98.
The market has been supported by hopes that the United States and China will sign off on a tentative trade deal early next year.
But as many foreign investors remained absent due to year-end holidays, retail Japanese traders were considered to be the main players.
Shippers were the best performing sector among the Tokyo Stock Exchange's 33 industry subindexes with gain of 1.2%. Kawasaki Kisen rose 1.9% while Mitsui OSK Lines gained 1.4%.
Household names did well with Softbank Group rising 1.5% and Nintendo 0.7%.
The index of Mothers start-up market rose 0.5% while the Jasdaq market, another bourse for start-up firms, also ticked up 0.5%.
Banks gained 0.6%, with both MUFG and Mizuho Financial up 0.6%.
J. Front Retailing jumped 4.4% to a one-year high as investors welcomed the announcement from the department store operator that it will seek to wholly own Parco, an operator of commercial complex in which it already has a dominant stake.
J.Front said it was offering 1,850 yen per share, a 35.6% premium to Parco's 1,364 yen closing price on Wednesday. Parco shares are untraded with a glut of buy orders.
Many of the top decliners were those that went ex dividend on Friday.
Japan Tobacco, which boasts the highest dividend yield among the Topix Core 30 of top firms, lost 3.2% while Canon shed 2.2%.
Skylark Holdings dropped 3.4% while Pola Orbis Holdings shed 3.1%. (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Rashmi Aich)