A man walks past an electronic board showing Hong Kong share index outside a bank in Hong Kong, Tuesday, July 31, 2018. Asian markets were mixed on Tuesday with narrow trading ahead of a key statement by the Bank of Japan, which could indicate a tightening of its monetary policy. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Asian markets rise after Bank of Japan policy statement

July 31, 2018 - 2:19 am

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian markets were mostly higher on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan decided to keep its monetary policy steady while allowing some flexibility to achieve yield targets. Investors turned their attention to China instead, in hope that the government would stop manufacturing from softening further.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose less than 0.1 percent to 22,553.72 and South Korea's Kospi added 0.1 percent to 2,295.26. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.2 percent to 2,873.42 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index lost 0.5 percent to 28,577.68. Australia's S&P ASX 200 added less than 0.1 percent to 6,280.20. Shares fell in Indonesia but were higher in Taiwan and Singapore.

WALL STREET: Technology stocks tumbled for the third day in a row on Monday, leading U.S. indexes to close lower. Microsoft and Alphabet slumped Monday and Facebook, Twitter and Netflix have all fallen at least 20 percent from their record highs earlier this month. The S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent to 2,802.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.6 percent to 25,306.83. The Nasdaq composite, which has more technology stocks among its ranks, gave up 1.4 percent 7,630.00. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks shed 0.6 percent to 1,653.13.

BOJ MEETING: In a widely watched statement, the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy steady on Tuesday as expected. It kept its target for the 10-year government bond yield at around zero percent and that for short-term interest rates at minus 0.1 percent. The bank said that yields will be allowed to move up or down "to some extent mainly depending on developments in economic activity and prices." Sustained relatively strong growth had raised expectations that the central bank may need to consider further tempering its massive purchases of government bonds and other assets. Investors are also watching monetary policy meetings in the U.S. and U.K. The Bank of England is expected to nudge up its key interest rate by a quarter point on Thursday despite uncertainty around Brexit as inflation remains high.

CHINESE PMI: China's manufacturing activity pulled back slightly in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. The official manufacturing purchasing managers' index was 51.2 in July, down from 51.5 a month earlier. Readings above 50 indicate expansion on the index's 100-point scale. New export orders were stable, but they came in at just below the neutral level for the second month.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Chinese PMI is on the soft side, reinforcing expectations that the government would introduce more measures to secure its economy," given trade tensions between the U.S. and China, said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB Private Banking.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 27 cents to $69.86 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 2.1 percent to settle at $70.13 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 26 cents to $75.29.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.20 yen from 111.00. The euro ticked up to $1.1714 from $1.1710.

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()