Asian Equities Turn Lower Before BOJ

Asian stocks fell, led by consumer-discretionary shares, ahead of a Bank of Japan statement on monetary policy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index (MXAP) dropped 0.2 percent to 138.29 as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo. All 33 economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast no change to BOJ bond-buying after it expanded the already unprecedented program in October. Japanese shares slid in Tokyo.

“Although we are not expecting anything out of the ordinary from the BOJ today, it will be interesting to see if energy prices are raining on their inflation goals, along with the consumption tax introduced in April last year,” Evan Lucas, a strategist at IG Ltd. in Melbourne, wrote in an e-mail to clients. “Further downside in the inflation rate will force the BOJ to rethink its position once again.”

Japan’s Topix index sank 0.4 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index added 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index jumped 1.2 percent. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.4 percent. Markets in China and Hong Kong have yet to open.


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