• World stocks rally after Japanese stimulus

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    NEW YORK: Global stocks soared and US markets powered to fresh records on Friday (Saturday in Manila) after the Bank of Japan surprised investors with a sharp increase to its stimulus operations.

    The policy switch, aimed at countering a slowdown in the Japanese economy, delivered a much-needed boost to equities from Asia to the Americas after a slow week marked by the US Federal Reserve’s announcement of the end of its own huge quantitative easing program.

    “Just as the Fed takes away the punch bowl, the BoJ has turned up with a crate of sake,” said Capital Spreads dealer Jonathan Sudaria, on the diverging monetary policies.

    In Japan, the Nikkei index added 4.8 percent to its highest level since November 2007.

    In Europe, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index closed 1.3 percent; French shares jumped 2.2 percent, and Frankfurt’s Dax gained 2.3 percent.

    Big gains by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 left prior records in the dust.

    The Dow leaped 1.1 percent to a new high of 17,390.52, surpassing the prior record by more than 100 points. The S&P 500 surged 1.2 percent to 2,018.05, almost seven points above its prior peak, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 1.4 percent to its highest close since March 2000.

    The buying fury also spread to Latin America, with Brazil’s Ibovespa index leaping 4.4 percent and Mexico’s market gaining 1.0 percent.

    The spur to the global rally was the BoJ’s announcement that it would add up to 20 trillion yen ($182 billion) to its current asset-buying scheme, bringing it to 80 trillion yen annually.

    “The Japanese economy is now at a critical moment in the process of getting out of deflation,” BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda said. The bank would “not hesitate” to pull the trigger on more easing if necessary, he added.

    US shares had already been moving higher since mid-October helped by good third-quarter earnings reports, and more of those, especially from oil and technology companies, underpinned Friday’s Wall Street rally.

    Analysts now expect the S&P 500 to report earnings gains of 7.43 percent for the quarter, up from the 5.52 percent gains projected two weeks ago, according to S&P Capital IQ.

    But analysts said the BoJ move was the biggest factor in US market gains.

    AFP

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