Nikkei set to rise ahead of this week's BOJ meeting
TOKYO, April 1 (Reuters) - The Nikkei share average is expected to open higher on Monday, driven by strong market expectations that the Bank of Japan will unveil bold monetary easing steps later this week. The benchmark Nikkei rallied 19 percent in January-March, marking its best quarterly performance since 2009, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe embarked on expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to revive the world's third-largest economy. The Nikkei is likely to trade between 12,350 and 12,500 on Monday, strategists said, after gaining 0.5 percent to 12,397.91 in the previous session. The broader Topix index slipped 0.2 percent to 1,034.71. "Having moved into the new fiscal year, institutional investors are likely to become active again," said Hiroichi Nishi, an assistant general manager at SMBC Nikko Securities. "The market, both the Nikkei and the Topix, is now much less overheated and getting close to the 'buy zone'. "The market expects the BOJ to embark on bold easing measures, which is seen supporting the weak yen trend. So the market is likely to eye those as well." The central bank will start a two-day policy meeting on April 3, its first under new Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, an advocate of aggressive monetary policy. STOCKS TO WATCH -ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS CO LTD All Nippon Airways said on Friday that it had not decided whether to cancel flights using Boeing's 787 jets during the month of June, citing progress in getting the troubled jet back in the air. -TEAC CORP Gibson Guitar, known for producing electric guitars used legendary rock guitarists such as Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, said on Friday that it was buying a majority share in Teac, an audio equipment manufacturer, for 4.88 billion yen ($51.9 million).