Nikkei Tops Asian Stocks as BOJ Stands Pat

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Nikkei Tops Asian Stocks as BOJ Stands Pat

Stocks in Japan closed higher on Wednesday as the country’s central bank stood pat on policy. Hong Kong shares flopped drastically.

The Nikkei 225, which resumed trading after a public holiday on Tuesday, fluctuated between loss and gain to end up adding 0.1% at 14,304.11. The blue-chip index rebounded from Monday, when it plunged 1% after Honda Motor. Co. Ltd posted disappointing earnings.

Tokyo shares reversed their gains substantially as the yen soared before the Bank of Japan concluded its policy meeting. As anticipated, the central bank retained a steady policy.

Investors were focused on semi-annual projections on growth and prices, which the central bank was expected to announce later in the day.

“I think that there were people who were hoping for an easing. For now, investors will be focusing on what Kuroda will say,” Takuya Takahashi of Daiwa Securities is quoted by Reuters as saying.

The PSE of Philippines surged 1.1% to 6707.91. Straits Times Index of Singapore surged 0.8% in Asia as South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.2% to 1961.79.

S&P ASX 200 of Australia added less than 0.1% at 5489.10, as the stocks were unable to reverse a sharp decline on Tuesday after reaching a multiyear peak. Several Australian banks were downgraded, kicking off a drastic drop as National Australia Bank Ltd plunged 0.6% and Bank of Queensland lost 1.1%.

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As the Wall Street Journal reports, retailers in Australia dropped after Wesfarmers Ltd announced on Tuesday that its growth of sales had declined. The firm lost 0.7% today, while Woolworths Ltd plunged 1.9%, although it announced a strong quarterly sales growth of 5.3% from a year earlier.

Investor confidence in Hong Kong dropped when WH Group canceled its initial public offering because of weak demand. The Chinese firm, which produces pork, could have generated as much as $1.9 billion in the IPO.

Hong Kong was volatile today, with the Hang Seng Index dropping 1.4% after advancing sharply by 1.5% in the previous session.

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To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com