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Asia Stocks Mixed Japan Yields Swing on BOJ Steps

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Asian stock markets were mixed on Friday, though the regional share gauge still headed to cap its strongest week since early June, following a series of steps by China shifting to stimulus mode.

Japanese equities climbed for a fourth day, shrugging off a decline in Nomura Holdings Inc. following a profit slide. Intensifying speculation about tweaks to the Bank of Japan’s stimulus program saw 10-year yields briefly trading above 0.1 percent — against the BOJ target of about zero — before slipping as the central bank unleashed another unlimited bond-purchase offering. Stock indexes in China and Hong Kong ticked lower, with the offshore yuan bouncing off its weakest in more than a year. European futures pointed to a muted start while the dollar held its advance and 10-year U.S. yields were below 3 percent.

Central bank policy is back at the forefront of market discussions. China’s onshore currency is heading for a sixth straight week of declines as the People’s Bank of China continues to embrace faster liquidity and credit growth. The PBOC told some banks this week that a specific capital requirement will be eased to support lending, Bloomberg News reported.

The European Central Bank said Thursday it will stick to its plan to end bond purchases and pledged to keep interest rates unchanged “at least through the summer of 2019.” In Japan, reports suggest officials are debating ways to reduce the side effects of their yield-curve control policy.

Elsewhere, West Texas crude held gains after an attack on Saudi tankers stoked supply concerns. The Turkish lira pared some of Thursday’s losses from President Donald Trump threatening sanctions if the nation doesn’t release an American pastor.

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These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.4 percent as of 3:18 p.m. Tokyo time.

Topix index rose 0.6 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent.

Kospi index rose 0.2 percent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.9 percent.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.1 percent to 2,844.50.

Currencies

The Japanese yen rose 0.1 percent to 111.08 per dollar.

The offshore yuan rose 0.1 percent.

The euro advanced less than 0.05 percent to $1.1644.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent to 1,176.51.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped less than one basis point to 2.97 percent.

Australia’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to 2.653 percent.

Japan’s 10-year yield rose less than one basis point to 0.095 percent.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $69.57 a barrel.

Gold increased 0.1 percent to $1,223.85 an ounce.

LME copper decreased 0.1 percent to $6,287.00 per metric ton.

Source: BLOOMBERG