HONG KONG (AP) – Japan's Nikkei 225 stock benchmark topped 40,000 yen for the first time on Monday, as strong demand for technology stocks continued to push the index higher.

In Tokyo, the index rose 0.8% to 40,226.83 by midday.

Stock prices of computer chip-related companies rose, with Renesas Electronics rising 5.8% and Advantest rising 3.9%. Olympus rose 7.4%.

Japanese stock prices have followed gains in other markets on expectations for strong demand for artificial intelligence-related technologies.

It is also supported by the Bank of Japan's continued monetary easing policy, injecting money into the economy to support growth. These policies kept the Japanese yen weak relative to the US dollar and other major currencies, boosting exporters' profits.

Tokyo's stock gains followed strong gains on Wall Street on Friday, with the S&P 500 index up 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1%.

Excitement about artificial intelligence technology has driven progress. Dell soared more than 30%.

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