Japanese stocks rose after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank could lift interest rates as soon as next month, driving the dollar higher against the yen.

The Topix index climbed 0.4 percent to 1,546.76 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, with insurers and energy explorers leading gains. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.5 percent to 19,029.75. The yen traded at 121.56 per dollar after weakening 0.4 percent yesterday following Yellen’s comments.

If economic data continue to point to growth and firmer prices, a December rate hike would be a “live possibility,” Yellen said on Wednesday in testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in Washington. Following the comments, futures traders pushed the odds of a rate hike at the Dec. 15-16 meeting to 58 percent from 50 percent a day earlier. The chance of a rate rise by the end of 2015 was 34 percent two weeks ago, prior to the Fed’s meeting in October.

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index were little changed after the underlying measure lost 0.4 percent on Wednesday as Yellen’s comments halted the U.S. equity rally and sent two-year Treasury yields to their highest level since 2011.

Source: Bloomberg