Japanese stocks fell, following U.S. equities lower and paring a second weekly gain, as investors weigh earnings and await a central bank monetary policy decision.

The Topix index lost 0.2 percent to 1,669.72 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for a weekly advance of 0.6 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped 0.3 percent to 20,609.44. The Bank of Japan is forecast to maintain its unprecedented monetary stimulus on Friday afternoon.

More than 250 firms on the Topix index report earnings on Friday. Of the companies that have posted quarterly results this season and for which estimates are available, 64 percent exceeded profit expectations, an improvement from the 48 percent that beat forecasts in the previous quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after the underlying measure fell 0.8 percent on Thursday in New York as biotechnology shares tumbled while media companies sold off on disappointing results from Viacom Inc. and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index also lost 0.8 percent

Along with corporate earnings, investors are watching U.S. economic reports to gauge when the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates. Traders are pricing in a 48 percent probability that the Fed will raise rates in September.

A report Thursday showed jobless claims rose by 3,000 to 270,000, hovering near four-decade lows as employers hold on to more workers in response to increased demand following a slump in early 2015. The government’s payrolls report on Friday is projected to show employers took on 225,000 workers last month, while the jobless rate held at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent.

Source : Bloomberg