SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Japanese stocks were lower Thursday after the country’s central bank introduced a negative rate interest policy that could boost the economy but also hurt earnings of major banks. The yen dived. Other Asian markets were mostly higher after China’s top economy official said there is no basis for the yuan to continuously weaken.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped more than 3 percent after the BOJ announcement but quickly surrendered those gains to be 0.5 percent lower at 16,933.99. The policy decision is a possible boost for the economy but viewed by investors as negative for banks. Shares of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group fell 5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.8 percent to 19,544.72 and the Shanghai Composite in mainland China rose 2 percent to 2,708.83. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.1 percent to 4,973.00 while South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.2 percent to 1,902.14. Stocks rose in Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines but fell in Indonesia.
JAPAN RATE: The Bank of Japan said it is imposing a 0.1 percent fee on some deposits left with the central bank, effectively a negative interest rate. It hopes that will encourage commercial banks to lend more and stimulate investment and growth. Latest data showed Japan’s core inflation rate slipped 0.5 percent in 2015 on low oil prices while consumer spending fell 4.4 percent in December over a year earlier.
CHINESE YUAN: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that there is no basis for continuous depreciation of the yuan, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported. In his phone conversation with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Li said Beijing has no intention of boosting exports by devaluing the renminbi.
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ENERGY TALK: The Kremlin said on Thursday it is actively discussing the instability of oil markets with the world’s key producers. Even though Russia said there was no concrete plan for a coordinated cut in production, it was enough to push the price of oil higher. Investors hope that talks could lead to production cuts that would begin to alleviate a global supply glut.
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday on hopes for an oil production cut and gains in tech stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 125.18 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,069.64. The Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 10.41 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,893.36. The Nasdaq composite index rose 38.51 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,506.68.
OIL PRICE: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 54 cents to $33.76 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 92 cents, or 2.8 percent to close at $33.22 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, gained 36 cents to $35.16.
CURRENCIES: The dollar jumped to 120.34 yen from 118.84 yen the previous day. The euro rose to $1.0943 from $1.0932.