TOKYO -- Asia was quiet in early Friday trading, ahead of a release later in the global day of key U.S. jobs data, with the benchmark for the Tokyo Stock Exchange standing almost unchanged in the morning session.
The Nikkei slid 0.2 percent to 14,460.30 in early trading, while the Kospi gained 0.1 percent to 1,963.04.
Market moves were cautious in anticipation of the release of U.S. government nonfarm payrolls report for April, which could show signs of an economic recovery.
The figures, which often set the market tone for a week or two after their release, may have a big impact as they come in the wake of significantly lower than expected U.S. economic growth in the first quarter and the Fed's ongoing reduction in its monetary stimulus.
Thursday's manufacturing survey from the Institute for Supply Management echoed other findings showing that the U.S. economy rebounded strongly in March and April. Most economists expect Friday's payrolls data to be solid too, with about 220,000 jobs created during April.
Overnight on Wall Street, share prices did not keep rising after three straight days of gains, as players took a wait-and-see attitude.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell less than 0.1 percent to 1,883.68. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 21.97 points to 16,558.87. The Dow had closed at an all-time high on Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite rose or 0.3 percent to 4,127.45.
Much of the world was on holiday for May Day Thursday.
In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was the only major index to be traded, and it closed 0.4 percent higher at 6,808.87.
The euro was trading virtually unchanged from late Thursday at $1.3861 and the dollar was also unchanged at 102.33 yen.
In the oil markets, a barrel of benchmark crude was down 10 cents at $99.32.