Nikkei climbs to near 3-week high as Wall St rally…

TOKYO, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Japan’s Nikkei share average rose to near three-week highs on Monday, with most sectors advancing as investor confidence continued to improve after Wall Street made steady gains.

The Nikkei ended the day up 1.2 percent at 22,153.63, after earlier touching 22,226.53, the highest since Feb. 7.

The largest percentage gainer in the index was Ube Industries Ltd up 4.75 percent, and on the losing side Tokai Carbon Co Ltd fell the most with a 4.41 percent slump.

Of Tokyo’s 33 sub-indexes, 31 gained, with defensive stocks like pharmaceuticals in the lead.

Overall, market gains were limited by caution ahead of new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual Congressional testimony starting on Tuesday.

Investors will be looking for clues on his views on monetary policy at a time when equity markets are fretting over rising U.S. yields and the risks of faster-than-expected interest rate rises.

The broader Topix .TOPX was 0.8 percent higher at 1,774.81. (Reporting by the Tokyo markets team Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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