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Japan Stocks End Flat as Investors await Fed, BOJ Verdicts

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TOKYO, March 17 Reuters Japanese stocks ended flat on Wednesday as profittaking in the tech sector offset gains in healthcare, though the overall mood remained cautious in the runup to key meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan.

The Nikkei 225 Index ended down 0.02 at 29,914.33, but the broader Topix edged up 0.13 to 1,984.03.

Sentiment for Japanese equities remained fairly positive due to a healthy outlook for the global economy and progress in COVID19 vaccine rollouts, analysts said.

Japanese stocks, however, are likely to move in a narrow range for the remainder of the month as investors retreat to the sidelines with the fiscal year ending on March 31.

Investor focus has shifted to a Fed meeting expected to end later in the day, where some U.S. policymakers may bring forward their expectations for rate hikes due to an improving economy.

Investors also keenly await the outcome of a BOJ meeting that is expected to end later in the week. Japans central bank could abandon a numerical target for exchangetraded fund ETFs purchases, but analysts say the stock market is strong enough to continue rising if that did happen.

If there is any disappointment in reaction to the BOJ, it wont last long, said Takashi Hiroki, chief strategist at Monex Securities.

Japanese stocks have proven that they dont need the BOJ to buy ETFs to rise sharply. Once we reach April a lot of new money will enter the stock market.

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