By Marketwatch and Associated Press
Asian markets dipped in early trading Thursday after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy unchanged.
The BOJ voted 7-2 to keep short-term interest rates at minus-0.1% and long-term rates at around 0%. The bank downgraded its view on industrial production but said it sees overseas risks as significant, a change from October’s statement that they were increasing.
“Japan’s economy is likely to continue on a moderate expanding trend, as the impact of the slowdown in overseas economies on domestic demand is expected to be limited, although the economy is likely to continue to be affected by the slowdown for the time being,” the central bank said in a statement.
Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -3.99% retreated 0.3% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -3.64% fell 0.6%. The Shanghai Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP -2.12% slipped 0.2% while the smaller-cap Shenzhen Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598015/delayed CN:399106 -1.79% inched down 0.1%. South Korea’s Kospi /zigman2/quotes/210598069/delayed KR:180721 -2.80% was about flat, and benchmark indexes in Taiwan /zigman2/quotes/210597977/delayed TW:Y9999 -3.03% , Singapore /zigman2/quotes/210597985/delayed SG:STI -0.82% and Indonesia /zigman2/quotes/210597981/delayed ID:JAKIDX -0.76% declined, though Malaysian stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598052/delayed MY:FBMKLCI -0.24% rallied. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 /zigman2/quotes/210598100/delayed AU:XJO -2.35% pulled back slightly.
Among individual stocks, SoftBank /zigman2/quotes/207303954/delayed JP:9984 -4.53% rose in Tokyo trading, while Isuzu Motors /zigman2/quotes/202637468/delayed JP:7202 -1.85% and Nissan Motor /zigman2/quotes/208298710/delayed JP:7201 -1.93% fell. In Hong Kong, tech companies AAC /zigman2/quotes/201441510/delayed HK:2018 -2.22% and Sunny Optical /zigman2/quotes/206687505/delayed HK:2382 -5.18% declined, along with developer Country Garden /zigman2/quotes/201681083/delayed HK:2007 -2.43% . Chip maker SK Hynix /zigman2/quotes/206420319/delayed KR:000660 -4.71% surged in South Korea following encouraging earnings news by rival Micron /zigman2/quotes/205710729/composite MU +4.66% . Taiwan Semiconductor /zigman2/quotes/207385621/delayed TW:2330 -4.57% fell in Taiwan, while Beach Energy /zigman2/quotes/200513631/delayed AU:BPT -0.30% and National Australia Bank /zigman2/quotes/210431826/delayed AU:NAB -2.03% sank in Australia.
Following a listless day on Wall Street, investors looked ahead to other interest rate decisions by central banks in Indonesia, Taiwan and Sweden.
Australia reported stronger-than-expected November jobs numbers. The Australian government reported employers added 39,900 jobs following a revised loss of 24,800 in October. Annual growth held steady at 2% over a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump, sending his case to the Senate for trial. Republicans who control that house say they plan to acquit him.
Trump is accused of abusing his office by pressing the government of Ukraine to investigate a potential political rival ahead of next year’s presidential election. He also is accused of obstructing efforts by Congress to investigate those allegations.
The outcome will be “greater polarization, and a rapid Senate dismissal of the charges made in the House, and then even greater polarization,” said Rabobank in a report.
On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished with small losses that left them just below all-time highs.
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.56% fell 1.38 points, or less than 0.1%, to 3,191.14. The Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.56% dropped 27.88 points, or 0.1%, to 28,239.28. The Nasdaq composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.66% rose 4.38 points, or 0.1%, to a record 8,827.73.
Losses in banks, industrial stocks, household goods makers and technology companies helped pull the market lower. They offset gains in real estate, communication services, health care and elsewhere in the market.
Benchmark U.S. crude lost 5 cents to $60.80 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract declined 2 cents on Wednesday to close at $60.85. Brent crude , used to price international oils, shed 1 cent to $66.16 per barrel in London. It added 7 cents the previous session to $66.17.
The dollar /zigman2/quotes/210561789/realtime/sampled USDJPY +0.3191% held steady at 109.57 yen.