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TOKYO: Tokyo shares closed sharply higher Monday, with investors’ eyes on a possible upcoming interest rate hike from the Bank of Japan.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index jumped 2.67 percent, or 1,032.80 points, to 39,740.44, while the broader Topix index climbed 1.92 percent, or 51.19 points, to end at 2,721.99.

“A sense of uncertainty over the Bank of Japan’s policy changes eased” following reports by major local media that the bank would likely drop its negative interest rate policy this week, IwaiCosmo Securities said.

The central bank started a two-day policy meeting Monday, with a press conference from governor Kazuo Ueda scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Despite the speculation on a long-awaited rate increase, Ueda is expected to voice broad commitment to maintain easy monetary conditions to safeguard Japan’s fragile growth.

The yen stood at 149.12 to the dollar, down from 149.08 yen seen Friday in New York, but better than recent lows.

Heavily weighted Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo brand, jumped 4.73 percent to 46,100 yen.

Semiconductor shares also enjoyed strong gains, with Tokyo Electron adding 3.76 percent to 36,740 yen, and Advantest jumping 3.88 percent to 6,686 yen.

Sony Group rose 2.03 percent to 13,330 yen, and Toyota added 2.26 percent to 3,567 yen.

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