Tokyo shares close 1.34% higher

Tokyo stocks added 1.34 percent on Thursday on Bank of Japan easing speculation and after the US Federal Reserve held steady on its easy money policies.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 167.46 points to 12,635.69, while the broader Topix index of all first-section shares was up 1.17 percent, or 12.21 points, at 1,058.10.

The Nikkei's rise was supported by expectations of aggressive easing steps from the Bank of Japan under a newly installed management team, said Kenichi Hirano, market analyst at Tachibana Securities.

"The US easing stance will remain intact for a while and the BoJ will embark on anti-deflation measures."

Investors are focusing on a news conference by BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda later Thursday while looking to see whether the bank will launch any new policy measures before its next meeting in April.

"The key is whether he will talk about scheduling an interim board meeting in the coming days," Hideyuki Ishiguro, senior strategist at investment strategy at Okasan Securities, told Dow Jones Newswires.

Kuroda met Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier Thursday, promising that he and his two deputies will redouble the BoJ's efforts at reversing falling prices that have crimped private spending and corporate investment for years.

The Tokyo market was closed Wednesday for a public holiday.

Investors shrugged off data showing a trade deficit of 777.5 billion yen ($8.1 billion) in February, reversing a year-earlier surplus of 25.8 billion yen.

That was Japan's eighth consecutive monthly deficit, denting hopes that the world's third-largest economy is on a recovery trend.

Wall Street posted solid gains Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 0.39 percent to 14,511.73 after the Fed kept its easy money policies in place, saying high unemployment and the government's sharp spending cuts remain barriers to full recovery from the 2008 crash.

In Tokyo, brokerage giant Nomura Holdings gained 2.24 percent to 591 yen, Kyocera rose 3.08 percent to 9,020 yen while Canon gained 1.28 percent to 3,535 yen while Sony was up 1.74 percent to 1,690 yen.

In forex trading, the dollar weakened to 95.74 yen from 95.98 yen in New York on Wednesday, while the euro fetched 123.94 yen against 124.17 yen.