Asian stocks hit by BOJ shock, China outperforms on stimulus bets

  • Stock Market News
Asian stocks hit by BOJ shock, China outperforms on stimulus bets
Credit: © Reuters. -- Asian stocks fell on Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei logging steep losses after somewhat hawkish messaging from the Bank of Japan, while Chinese shares outperformed on hopes of more stimulus measures. 

Broader Asian markets also came under pressure from data showing the U.S. economy grew more than expected in the second quarter, which spurred concerns that the Federal Reserve will have enough economic headroom to keep raising interest rates. This came after the central bank kept the door open for more rate hikes earlier this week.

Japanese stocks tumble after BOJ offers hawkish signals 

The Nikkei 225 index slid 2.4%, while the broader TOPIX lost 0.9% after the BOJ said it will carry out its yield curve control (YCC) operations with more flexibility, by allowing bond yields to fluctuate more outside its target range.

Losses in both indexes were broad-based, with only financial and utility sectors trading positive. 

While the BOJ still kept interest rates at negative levels , Friday’s move marks a step towards the potential end of the ultra-loose monetary conditions enjoyed by Japanese stocks for nearly a decade.

The prospect of a dovish BOJ had driven stellar gains in Japanese stocks through the past two months. But local stocks are now expected to see some capitulation. 

The BOJ's move was also spurred by sticky Japanese inflation. Data on Friday showed that inflation in Tokyo grew more than expected in July.

Losses in Japan spilled over into broader Asian markets, with Australia’s ASX 200 falling 1.3%. Australian stocks were also hit by data showing retail sales unexpectedly fell in June.

South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.5%, while India’s Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex 30 opened 0.1% and 0.2% lower, respectively, after hitting record highs earlier in July. 

Chinese stocks outperform on stimulus hopes 

Chinese stocks were the sole outliers for the day, logging strong gains as government pledges of more stimulus measures saw investors piling into heavily-discounted markets.

The Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index surged 1.8%, while the Shanghai Composite index rose 1.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index added 0.7%, also taking support from locally-listed Chinese stocks.

Real estate stocks were a particular source of support for Chinese indexes, after the government vowed to roll out more policies to support the embattled sector. Property stocks also recovered sharply from recent losses.

Top-level Chinese officials had signaled this week that they will roll out more policy support for the economy, as recent data showed that growth slowed sharply in the second quarter.

The vows attracted a slew of foreign investors into Chinese stocks, which were also trading at sizeable discounts to their Asian peers for the year. 


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