Asia stocks down, Japan gives up brief gains after BOJ stimulus

Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:49am EST
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By Nichola Saminather and Lisa Twaronite

SINGAPORE/TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares took their cue from Wall Street and slipped on Friday, and Japanese stocks slumped after briefly jumping on the central bank's statement that it would expand parts of its stimulus program.

European shares were also poised to start lower, with financial spreadbetters expecting Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to fall 0.3 percent, Germany's DAX .GDAXI to open down 0.8 percent and France's CAC40 FCHI. to begin the day off 0.5 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.3 percent. It was still up 1.6 percent for a week that has featured first U.S. interest rate hike in nearly a decade and a depreciating yuan.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 rose briefly but fell back to end the day 1.9 percent lower. It ended the week down 1.3 percent.

The Bank of Japan maintained its base money target under its massive stimulus program on Friday but set up a new program to buy exchange-traded funds, extend the maturity of bonds it owns to around 12 years, and increase its purchases of risky assets.

The divergence between U.S. and other countries' monetary policies was also seen in Taiwan, with the central bank unexpectedly cutting interest rates for the second time this year on Thursday. The island's bank also said it would keep monetary policy loose to shore up growth in the trade-dependent economy as the global demand outlook worsened.

Taiwan stocks .TWII closed 0.8 percent lower, shrinking gains for the week to 1.7 percent. The Taiwan dollar TWD= strengthened to T$32.910 versus its previous close of T$33.035 after the central bank said it would maintain an orderly foreign exchange market.

"The global macro dynamics from the beginning of a Fed rate hiking cycle are slowly playing out across the world," Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne, said in a note to clients.   Continued...

A man walks past an electronic board showing graphs of recent Japan's Nikkei share average outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai