Asia stocks post modest gains ahead of BOJ meeting

Asian stock markets post modest gains as traders anticipate easing measures from Bank of Japan

Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets posted modest advances Monday, with traders widely expecting the Bank of Japan to announce new measures to help the country break out of its deflationary slump.

The central bank's monetary policy committee meets Tuesday and is expected to grapple with the country's longstanding economic doldrums.

"The faster-than-expected deterioration in the economy requires further policy support from the central bank," analysts at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore said in a market commentary. "Market expectations are building that the BOJ will ease policy again."

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 0.4 percent to 8,968.76. South Korea's Kospi added 0.5 percent to 1,900.12 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5 percent to 4,495. Benchmarks in the Philippines and Taiwan also rose.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 21,499.09. Benchmarks in mainland China, New Zealand and Singapore were also lower.

On Wall Street on Friday, stocks finished mixed after investors found little to like in weak corporate earnings reports and news of only tepid growth in the U.S. economy in the third quarter.

The government estimated that the U.S. economy expanded at a 2 percent annual rate from July through September. That was better than the previous quarter but not strong enough to bring down the unemployment rate.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.03 percent to close at 13,107.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.07 percent, to 1,411.94. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.06 percent to 2,987.95.

Benchmark oil for December delivery was down 30 cents to $85.98 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 23 cents to finish at $86.28 in New York on Friday.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 79.71 yen from 79.66 yen late Friday in New York. The euro was unchanged at $1.2932.

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