Japan shares end higher as investors eye Fed policy stance


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    By Stanley White
    TOKYO, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks ended marginally
higher on Wednesday on expectations that the U.S. Federal
Reserve would reinforce its commitment to keeping rates low at a
meeting later in the day.
    The Nikkei 225 Index  .N225  finished trade up 0.09% at
23,475.53, with the telecommunications and healthcare sectors
leading gains. The broader Topix  .TOPX  rose 0.21% to 1,644.35.
    Many investors were on the sidelines ahead of the Fed's
policy statement. While no major change in policy is expected,
the central bank is likely to emphasise that interest rates will
remain low for an extended period, analysts said.
    Meanwhile, Yoshihide Suga was voted prime minister by
parliament's lower house on Wednesday, becoming Japan's first
new leader in nearly eight years, as he readied a "continuity
cabinet" expected to keep about half of predecessor Shinzo Abe's
lineup.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2GD0B0       
    The Japanese stock markets had already priced in the
formation of a new government as Finance Minister Taro Aso
decided to retain his post, according to domestic media, which
suggests little change to economic policy.
    Market focus was also on the Bank of Japan's policy
decision, due on Thursday, with the central bank expected to
leave its monetary easing stance unchanged.
    The stocks that gained the most among the top 30 core Topix
names were investment manager SoftBank Group Corp  9984.T , up
4.64%, followed by drugs maker Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd  4568.T ,
which jumped 2.6%.    
    The underperformers among the Topix 30 were automaker Honda
Motor Co Ltd  7267.T , down 2.59% as the yen's  JPY=D3  rise to
an almost three-week high against the dollar hurt exporters. The
second-biggest decliner was Central Japan Railway Co  9022.T 
losing 2.35%.
    There were 48 advancers in the Nikkei index against 173
    The volume of shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's
main board  .TOPX  was 1.17 billion, compared with the average
of 1.14 billion in the past 30 days.

 (Editing by Devika Syamnath and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
 ((stanley.white@tr.com; +81 (0)3 4563 2799;
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