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TOKYO: Tokyo stocks dropped Monday as investors sat on their hands ahead of central bank meetings in Japan and the United States, and as the Middle East crisis weighed on the market.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.95 percent, or 294.73 points, to 30,696.96, while the broader Topix index lost 1.04 percent, or 23.41 points, at 2,231.24.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) will conclude a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, while the US Federal Reserve will make a rate decision on Wednesday. Market consensus is that “both banks won’t raise interest rates, but depending on messages from BoJ Governor (Kazuo) Ueda and Fed Chair (Jerome) Powell, speculation of higher rates could grow stronger”, said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities.

Investors also braced themselves for “a nonstop flow of significantly tradable headlines”, said Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management.

“Indeed, markets have much to unpack this week, so investors appear reluctant to play today as risk appetite remained fragile, partly due to Israel’s large-scale ground assault on Gaza over the weekend, which drew criticism from several Arab states,” Innes added.

The dollar stood at 149.53 yen against 149.65 yen in New York on Friday.

Among major shares, Mitsubishi Motors dropped 4.45 percent to 485 yen after the automaker upgraded its net profit outlook, which still was below the level seen in the previous fiscal year.

Japan’s Nikkei gains for 2nd day on Wall Street rise, China stimulus

Nissan lost 4.50 percent to 566.5 yen, and Toyota fell 2.44 percent to 2,574 yen.

SoftBank Group slipped 0.39 percent to 6,116 yen, Nintendo gave up 1.67 percent to 6,117 yen, and Uniqlo-operator Fast Retailing lost 1.38 percent to 32,900 yen.

But some semiconductor issues advanced.

Tokyo Electron, which makes tools to build semiconductors, rose 0.97 percent to 19,800 yen. Disco, which makes cutters for semiconductor wafers, added 0.57 percent to 27,385 yen.

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