Japan leads Asian stocks higher on BOJ measures

Associated Press
A man reflected on the electronic board of a securities firm in Tokyo,Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Japan led Asian stock markets higher Tuesday after the country's central bank announced new measures to support growth.(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
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MUMBAI, India (AP) — Japan led Asian stock markets higher Tuesday after the country's central bank announced new measures to support growth. European markets were lower.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo vaulted 3.1 percent to 14,843.24 after the Bank of Japan topped up its already lavish monetary stimulus. It said it was doubling the size of its fund to support bank lending and its fund to support economic growth. The funds, which were due to expire shortly, were extended for another year.

The BOJ moves come after fourth quarter economic growth fell short of forecasts despite massive fiscal and monetary stimulus intended to engineer a recovery.

European stocks were lower as traders awaited German investor confidence data.

Germany's DAX slipped 0.1 percent to 9,649.14 and Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent to 6,726.14. France's CAC 40 was down 0.3 percent to 4,321.94.

Futures augured little movement on Wall Street, which reopens Tuesday after the President's Day holiday. Dow and S&P 500 futures were both up 0.1 percent.

In Asia, Seoul's Kospi was slightly higher at 1,946.91 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 percent to 5,392.80. Taiwan's index gained 0.4 percent to 8,556.23.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2 percent to 22,587.72 but China's Shanghai Composite fell.

India's Sensex rose 0.9 percent to 20,638.07 after the finance minister said the country's fiscal and current account deficits have narrowed, increasing confidence in the economy.

Benchmark U.S. oil for March delivery was up 36 cents to $100.66 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract last settled on Friday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3718 from $1.3700. The dollar jumped to 102.40 yen from 102.10 yen.

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