Asian Equities Buoyed by ECB Easing Hopes

Asian shares held firm and the euro stayed under pressure on Wednesday as investors counted on the European Central Bank to unveil a stimulus drive, while the yen jumped after the Bank of Japan left policy unchanged.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 1.1 percent to hit its highest level in six weeks.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 bucked the trend by slipping 0.9 percent and the yen gained 0.8 percent to 117.83 to the dollar JPY= after the BOJ did not expand its stimulus.  While the decision had been widely expected, some players had bet on a surprise from BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, as the central bank’s inflation target for next year looks increasingly illusive.

The BOJ maintained its money-printing target while tinkering with expiring loan schemes to support bank lending. It stuck to a bullish inflation outlook for 2016 even though it cut its 2015 projections following falls in oil prices in recent months.  On the whole, global share prices have been supported in recent sessions by growing investor conviction that the ECB will adopt quantitative easing at its meeting on Thursday.


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