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TOKYO: Japan’s Nikkei index closed higher on Monday, supported by a retreat in crude oil as investors turned more optimistic over the Russia-Ukraine peace talks.

Travel-related stocks jumped on a decline in COVID-19 infections and hopes of resumption of a government programme to boost tourism.

Financial shares rallied as higher long-term global bond yields improved the outlook for profits. Automakers stood out too, as a weaker yen boosted the value of overseas sales.

The Nikkei share average ended 0.58% higher at 25,307.85, although that was off the early highs when the benchmark gained as much as 1.86%. Of the Nikkei’s 225 component stocks, 177 advanced.

The broader Topix climbed 0.71% to 1,812.28.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Sunday that Russia was showing signs it might be willing to have substantive negotiations over Ukraine, allowing commodity prices to fall back from their highs.

Resource-poor Japan is dependent on imports for its energy needs.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said over the weekend the government was preparing to restart the “GoTo Travel” subsidy programme.

Travel agency H.I.S. jumped 7.53% and airline ANA Holdings rose 2.94%. Department store operator J.Front Retailing advanced 5.13%.

“Although the outlook remains unclear for Ukraine and other overseas factors, the decline in Omicron cases and the restart of “GoTo” is lifting sentiment by raising hopes for improved corporate profits in coming quarters,” said Jun Kitazawa, an equity strategist at Miki Securities.

Chipmaking giant Tokyo Electron was the biggest riser by index points, adding 1.31%, followed by peer Advantest , which gained 2.21%.

Toyota was the third-biggest contributor to the Nikkei’s gain, rising 2.88%. Nissan added 2.04% and Mazda leapt 4.34%.

The Nikkei’s biggest percentage gainer was engineering company JGC Holdings, which surged 14.93%.

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