HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Japanese stocks led gains in Asia on Thursday, with exporters among the best performers, amid a weaker yen and expectations of additional support for asset prices from the Bank of Japan, while Hong Kong stocks extended their winning streak to a 10th straight session.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +2.55% ended 1.1% higher, after the dollar moved back over 80 yen to a high not seen since late June.
Reorient Financial Chief Strategist Uwe Parpart in Hong Kong said the Bank of Japan will concede its unlikely to achieve its 1% inflation target for fiscal 2014 in an economic assessment to be released at its upcoming one-day policy meeting on Oct. 30. Parpart added that the central bank will unveil additional support measures, including an increase in the target for its asset-purchase program.
“The question is no longer whether there is a new leader at the Bank of Japan, or whether there is a new political leadership, ultra-easy monetary policies will be very much on the cards,” Parpart said.
Elsewhere, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.46% /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO +0.46% rose 0.1% while South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 +1.54% rose 0.6%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +2.57% ended 0.2% higher, rising for a 10th straight session. The Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/206600939/delayed CN:000001 +3.33% eased 0.7%.
The Asia Dow was 0.6% higher.
U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday amid continuing caution about the current corporate-reporting season, with Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +0.02% tumbling after cutting its growth forecast and Boeing Co. /zigman2/quotes/208579720/composite BA -1.33% also ending the session with losses after updating investors.
Additionally, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke commented that growth in the U.S. economy had been moderate while inflation had picked up somewhat. The Fed made no change to its third round of asset purchases of $40 billion a month. Read: Fed sticks to QE3 plan.
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Telecom KDDI Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204923990/delayed JP:9433 +0.59% /zigman2/quotes/205540401/delayed KDDIY -0.07% jumped 5.5% in Tokyo while trading house Sumitomo Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209745829/delayed JP:8053 +2.17% /zigman2/quotes/210460165/delayed SSUMY +0.09% rose 1.4%, after a Nikkei news report that the firms plan to combine their cable-television holdings into a single unit.
The yen declined against the dollar after a Nikkei report in the afternoon that the Bank of Japan is likely to take more easing steps at its next policy meeting on Oct. 30.
The Japanese central bank will likely boost the size of its asset-purchase program to 90 trillion, or about 10 trillion yen more than its previous target, according to the Japanese newspaper, which didn’t say where it got the information. In September the BOJ boosted the target for its asset-purchase program by ¥10 trillion, bringing the current size of the program to ¥80 trillion.
Exporters picking up on the Japanese currency weakness included Mitsubishi Motors Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202404490/delayed JP:7211 +3.63% /zigman2/quotes/200876874/delayed MMTOF -3.15% , up 4.4%, and Casio Computer Co. /zigman2/quotes/202477994/delayed CSIOF 0.00% /zigman2/quotes/202492162/delayed JP:6952 +1.08% ,up 3.4%.