Tokyo stocks 1.20% higher by break

Tokyo stocks rose 1.20 percent Thursday morning, tracking gains on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve held steady on easy money policies aimed at stoking the world's biggest economy.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 149.78 points to 12,618.01 by the break, while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 1.16 percent, or 12.18 points, to 1,058.07.

The Nikkei's rise was also 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 policy 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 against a year-before 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 forex trade the dollar fetched 95.94 yen, compared with 95.98 yen in New York late Wednesday, while the euro bought 124.24 yen, from 124.17 yen.