Tokyo stocks close 0.16pc higher

January 22, 2014 - 9:11:59 am

TOKYO:  Tokyo stocks closed 0.16 percent higher Wednesday after the Bank of Japan said its monetary easing programme was winning the war against deflation and stood pat on its stimulus programme.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index edged up 25.00 points to 15,820.96, while the Topix index of all first-section shares rose 0.28 percent, or 3.68 points, to 1,299.63.

Wrapping up a two-day policy meeting, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) said its monetary easing programme put in place in April will "lead Japan's economy to overcome the deflation that has lasted for nearly 15 years".

The Nikkei fell into negative territory immediately after the news as the yen briefly strengthened against the dollar, which is bad for Japanese exporters. But the index crept back up by the closing bell and dollar was up at 104.42 yen from 104.32 yen in New York late Tuesday.

Many analysts predict the BoJ will launch an expansion of its asset-buying scheme later in the year to counter the effects of an April sales tax hike.

The BoJ slightly lowered its growth forecast to 1.4 percent from 1.5 percent for the fiscal year ending in March 2015, which suggests policymakers expect consumer demand to weaken after the rate rise, dealers said.

In Tokyo share trading, Renesas Electronics' shares fell 3.90 percent to 590 yen after reports that it will slash 5,400 jobs in Japan, or about one quarter of its domestic workforce, as the struggling chipmaker overhauls its money-losing business.

Gaming giant Nintendo rebounded 4.54 percent to 14,025 yen after losing more than 8.0 percent over the previous two days in response to its warning of a net loss caused by weaker than forecast sales of its Wii U console. (AFP)