Tokyo: Stocks fluctuate ahead of central bank policy decision

[TOKYO] Japanese stocks swung between gains and losses as energy producers gained and insurers slid ahead of a Bank of Japan decision on monetary policy.

The Topix fell 0.1 per cent to 1,645.28 as of 9.07am in Tokyo after rising as much as 0.1 per cent. The gauge is headed for a 2.3 per cent weekly gain, the best such advance in three months. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average slid 0.1 per cent to 20,185.86.

The yen traded at 121.06 per dollar after gaining 0.3 per cent on Thursday. The central bank will keep its asset-purchase plan unchanged at its meeting ending Friday, according to all 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. A report this week showed the nation's economy expanded at the fastest pace in a year last quarter.

"On the heels of the gross domestic product data, the BOJ might raise its economic forecast," said Juichi Wako, a senior strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc in Tokyo.

"It's unlikely to have any impact on Governor Kuroda's thinking that additional easing is unnecessary, leaving the monetary policy in a state of clam. The yen could strengthen temporarily if there's no change to policy."

E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were little changed after the underlying measure gained 0.2 per cent on Thursday in New York, reaching another record.


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