TOKYO, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Japan's Nikkei share average ended lower in range-bound trade on Wednesday ahead of a key U.S. inflation report, but losses were limited as investors bought value shares that can withstand higher rates.
The Nikkei fell 0.21% to close at 32,706.52 after rising as much as 0.3% earlier in the session. The broader Topix declined 0.5% to 2,378.64.
"The market had little direction today, in part as investors awaited U.S. inflation data," said Hideyuki Suzuki, general manager of investment research at SBI Securities.
"But under this environment, investors wanted to buy value stocks and that limited the losses."
U.S. August consumer price index (CPI) data is due later in the day, while data on producer prices is scheduled for Thursday. The prints will help gauge the Federal Reserve's outlook on interest rates ahead of its meeting on Sept. 20.
Investors also braced for signs the Bank of Japan (BOJ) will relax its ultra-easy policy at its two-day policy meeting next week, after Governor Kazuo Ueda signalled an early end to the bank's negative rate in an interview with a local newspaper.
Technology startup investor Softbank Group fell 1.63% and was the biggest drag on the Nikkei, followed by staffing agency Recruit Holdings which lost 1.67%.
IHI fell 3.05% after the heavy industrial machinery maker, after tanking 16% in the previous session.
Component manufacturers IHI and Kawasaki Heavy Industries said their earnings would be hit as U.S. engine maker RTX disclosed that a rare manufacturing flaw could ground hundreds of Airbus jets in the coming years.
Bucking the trend, phone company KDDI rose 1.58% to provide the biggest support to the Nikkei.
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group jumped 3.13%, the biggest support for the Topix.
Railway operator Odakyu Electric Railway rose 3.26% and was the top performer on the Nikkei. (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Varun H K)