HONG KONG (AP) — World stocks are mostly higher Friday after Japan’s central bank kept its ultra-lax monetary stance intact, lifting Asian sentiment and propping up the dollar. News of another Greek bailout shored up European shares.
KEEPING SCORE: European shares rose in early trading. France’s CAC 40 added 1 percent to 5,268.75 and Germany’s DAX climbed 0.5 percent to 12,753.13. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4 percent to 7,447.04. Wall Street was poised to open higher, with Dow futures up 0.1 percent to 21,355.00 and broader S&P 500 futures also rising 0.1 percent to 2,435.10.
BANK OF JAPAN: The Bank of Japan noted signs of improvement in the world’s third largest economy and said it expected demand to accelerate, supporting a “moderate expansion.” But it said inflation expectations were weakening, suggesting it sees no need to wind back its massive monetary stimulus. The central bank kept its key interest rate at minus 0.1 percent.
GREENBACK STRENGTH: The dollar maintained its recent gains, helped by the BOJ’s decision as well as the Federal Reserve’s move this week to raise its key interest rate for the third time in half a year and trim its bond holdings on signs that the U.S. economy continues to improve. The dollar rose to 111.31 yen from 110.92 yen in late trading Thursday while the euro climbed to $1.1180 from $1.1147.
QUOTEWORTHY: “With inflation set to undershoot the bank’s projections by a wide margin, the chances of policy tightening remain slim,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics wrote in a commentary. “It came as no surprise that the Bank of Japan decided earlier today to leave policy settings unchanged.”
GREEK BAILOUT: Greece struck a deal with European creditors late Thursday clearing the way for the release of another 8.5 billion euros ($9.5 billion), easing the indebted country’s burden as it faces a big repayment next month. Greece also secured promises that its debt repayments will be eased soon.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index rose 0.6 percent to close at 19,943.26 but South Korea’s Kospi finished practically unchanged at 2,361.83. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rebounded 0.2 percent to 25,626.49 after dropping more than 1 percent the day before while the Shanghai Composite lost 0.3 percent to 3,123.17. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.2 percent to 5,774.00. Taiwan’s index rose and Southeast Asian benchmarks were mixed.
ENERGY: Oil futures bounced back after sliding to a seven-month low. Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $44.71 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 27 cents to settle at $44.46 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 41 cents to $47.32 a barrel in London.