TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks edged up on Friday morning as a weaker yen helped keep the benchmark Nikkei index above 19,000 points, while investors awaited the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report due later in the day.
Market players also waited on comments from Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, due later in the afternoon.
The Nikkei share average gained 0.5 percent to end the morning session at 19,206.03.
“Tonight’s payroll numbers are very important for sentiment on whether we’ll see a December liftoff from the Fed,” said Gavin Parry, managing director of Parry International Trading.
“But for Japanese companies with exposure to U.S. consumers, they’re also a window into U.S. consumer sentiment, so they will be of special interest for sectors like autos.”
As a strong jobs report will support the likelihood the Fed will start raising interest rates from December, the yen’s reaction to the figures will be a kind of litmus test for what’s to come, market players said.
“If the yen can resume its weakening trend in the wake of payroll figures then the Japan rally is still on,” said Stefan Worrall, cash equities manager at Credit Suisse.
Japan’s retail sector added 1.2 percent, making it the top-performing sector for the morning. Yamada Denki Co Ltd rose 5.8 percent during the morning session, extending Thursday gains that came after it raised its guidance and its year-end dividend.
The Topix subindex for precision instruments added 1.2 percent, helped by Terumo Corp, which gained 6.2 percent to hit a record-high after raising its dividend outlook for the year ending March 2016.
Takata Corp continued its downward spiral after more automakers considered abandoning its air bag inflators. The scandal-hit auto parts maker fell 12.2 percent after touching a 6-year low earlier in the morning session.
The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent to 1,559.89 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 gained 0.4 percent to end the morning session at 14,031.33.
Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Jacqueline Wong