Nikkei rises to fresh 8-year high on U.S. rally; BOJ keeps policy steady

By Ayai Tomisawa TOKYO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to a fresh eight-year high on Wednesday after U.S. stocks rallied on hopes that a debt deal would be reached with Greece, while investors digested the Bank of Japan’s decision to keep policy unchanged.

After the morning session closed, the BOJ maintained its massive asset buying stimulus spree and revised up its view on exports and output. Traders are now awaiting an afternoon news conference by the BOJ chief for any clues on future policy.

The Nikkei was up 1.0 percent at 18,159.26 points by early afternoon after touching as high as 18,175.90. It was the highest level since July 2007.

The next upside target as a closing level is seen at 18,261.98, which was last seen in early July 2007, analysts said.

Greece will remain an immediate concern for financial markets as the European Central Bank decides later in the day whether to maintain emergency lending to Greek banks which have lost deposits at an unnerving rate.

The broader Topix gained 1.2 percent to 1,479.73 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 added 1.3 percent to 13,430.93.

(Editing by Kim Coghill)

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