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Tokyo shares close 0.55pc higher

Tokyo shares close 0.55pc higherTOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed 0.55 percent higher Wednesday, ahead of a policy announcement by the US central bank, as Nintendo rocketed more than 21 percent.

The Nikkei 225 index at the Tokyo Stock Exchange reversed earlier losses and added 107.48 points to 19,544.48, a fresh 15-year high.

The Topix index of all first-section issues gained 0.76 percent, or 11.96 points, to 1,582.46.

The market largely remained flat most of the day, but buying outpaced selling towards the end of the session.

Investors were awaiting the US Federal Reserve’s policy announcement Wednesday, which is expected to give clues on the timing of an increase in near-zero interest rates, perhaps as early as June.

Higher US interest rates could boost the dollar against the yen, in a positive move for Japanese exporters.

“There’s definitely some profit-taking ahead of the Fed,” said David Welch, head of equity sales trading at Reorient Group in Hong Kong.

“But beneath the surface, some big changes are happening in the market… every portfolio manager in the world is looking for the next stock to buy,” he told Bloomberg News.

The dollar bought 121.37 yen in Tokyo trade compared with 121.34 yen in New York late Tuesday.

Shares in Nintendo rose 21.3 percent to 17,080 yen, hitting the daily stop limit.

Nintendo said it was teaming up with a mobile gaming company to develop games for smartphones in what could be a turning point for the Japanese giant.

Toyota firmed 1.49 percent to 8,463 yen, a record high close since the world’s largest automaker went public in 1949.

Sony jumped 5.41 percent to 3,410 yen after the embattled company confirmed improved earnings.

It said its net profit for the three months to December more than tripled from a year earlier, while confirming it was on course to incur an annual loss smaller than expected last year.

US stocks Tuesday finished mostly lower before the Fed announcement, while the tech-rich Nasdaq rose on news of a potential new Apple television venture.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.71 percent, and the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.34 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 0.16 percent.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

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