Japan's Nikkei average fell 0.88 per cent to hit its lowest close in nearly two months on Thursday as Advantest Corp tumbled on lower quarterly profit, and caution ahead of Sunday's parliamentary election weighed.
But Nomura Holdings Inc jumped 6.6 per cent to 2,260 yen and Terumo Corp surged 10.9 per cent to 5,100 yen after they posted solid earnings.
Sony Corp ended up 1.1 per cent at 6,350 yen on expectations that a recent soft yen may have lifted the company's quarterly earnings. After the market closed, Sony said its quarterly profit more than trebled.
Canon Inc, the world's largest digital camera maker, lowered its annual profit outlook after posting a 7.8 per cent gain in quarterly profit. Prior to the results announcement, Canon shares ended down 2.3 per cent at 6,890 yen.
Amid a slew of earnings, caution ahead of the upper house election triggered some hedge selling in the futures market, dragging down the cash market, said Hiroyuki Fukunaga, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.
"Some investors assume that the market won't move much before the election and have been selling futures," he said. "These sales are nothing to do with the fundamentals and we may expect them to buy back next week."
Fukunaga also said shares of shipping companies, which lifted their outlooks, began giving up earlier gains in the afternoon and ended in negative territory, which also hampered market sentiment.
The Nikkei fell 156.33 points to 17,702.09, the lowest close since May 30. The broader TOPIX index shed 0.96 per cent to 1,737.18.
Earnings numbers clearly divided winners and losers more than ever, said Masayoshi Okamoto, head of dealing at Jujiya Securities, as retail investors armed with the Internet have become selective and take the same action as professional institutional investors do, amplifying stock movements.