Asian shares ticked higher on Friday as investors cheered upbeat U.S. growth data, while the dollar held near four-week highs against the yen as markets awaited the outcome of the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy meeting. The BOJ is widely expected to maintain its massive asset buying program and its upbeat forecast that inflation will hit its 2 percent target next year, suggesting no further stimulus is on the horizon. The policy decision is expected around 0230-0330 GMT.
But data released early on Friday showed Japan’s annual core consumer inflation slowed for a second straight month in September, adding to evidence the BOJ is likely to miss its price goal. Wall Street surged late in the session on Thursday, after data showed surprisingly strong third-quarter U.S. economic growth as the trade gap narrowed. But domestic demand slipped, hinting at some loss of momentum.
The data came a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised markets with an optimistic assessment of the U.S. economy when it announced the end of its monthly bond buying stimulus program. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.5 percent, on track for weekly and monthly gains of more than 2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei stock average rallied 1.7 percent.
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