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Asia-Pacific Stocks Mixed as Investors React to BoJ’s Corporate Financing Statement

Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower on Friday as investors reacted to developments from the Bank of Japan.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 dipped 0.16% to close at 26,763.39 while the Topix index declined ended its trading day fractionally higher at 1,793.24. South Korea’s Kospi closed fractionally higher at 2,772.18.

Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher on the day: The Shanghai composite was up 0.29% to 3,394.90 while the Shenzhen component advanced 0.257% to 13,854.12. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined about 1% as of its final hour of trading.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia fell, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 1.2% to close at 6,675.50.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.56%.

The Bank of Japan on Friday announced a six-month extension of its special program aimed at easing corporate financing pressures amid the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the yield target on the 10-year Japan government bond was set at around 0% while the short-term interest target was set to -0.1%.

The Japanese central bank also said it will “conduct an assessment for further effective and sustainable monetary easing” as it looks to support the economy and achieve its ever elusive inflation target, with the findings likely to be out in March.

Following the BOJ’s announcement, the Japanese yen traded at 103.39 per dollar, having seen levels above 103.8 against the greenback earlier in the trading week.

Rising coronavirus cases in certain parts of North Asia may also have weighed on investor sentiment.

Japan’s capital Tokyo on Thursday saw a record number of new infections, with the metropolitan government raising its alert for the strain on the medical system to the highest level, according to Kyodo News.

Over in South Korea, local news agency Yonhap reported Thursday that daily new coronavirus cases crossed the 1,000 level for the second day in a row.

Overnight stateside, the S&P 500 gained 0.6% to end its trading day at 3,722.48 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.8% to close at 12,764.75. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 148.83 points to close at 30,303.37.

Thursday’s moves on Wall Street saw the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hitting intraday and closing records, while the Dow posted its highest-ever closing level.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 89.945 after weakening this week from levels above 90.4.

The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.76, after trading at levels around $0.763 earlier in the week.

Oil prices were lower in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.5% to $51.24 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.35% to $48.19 per barrel.