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Europe Stocks Edge Lower as German Economy Stagnates; Bank of Japan Surprises With YCC Shift


LONDON — European stocks were slightly lower Friday as investors processed a week of earnings and central bank decisions.

The Stoxx 600 index traded 0.1% lower during early afternoon deals, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions. Mining stocks led the losses, down over 1%.

EUROPEAN MARKETS

TICKER COMPANY PRICE CHANGE %CHANGE 
.FTSEFTSE 1007697.194.430.06
.GDAXIDAX16459.7653.730.33
.FCHICAC 40 Index7474.649.40.13
.FTMIBFTSE MIB29541.6-56.21-0.19
.IBEXIBEX 35 Idx9688.1-6.6-0.07

The Bank of Japan on Friday kept its negative interest interest rate intact but announced it would allow “greater flexibility” in its target range for 10-year Japanese government bond yields — a move seen by some analysts as a signal for an eventual policy shift, though how significantly remained unclear.

Japan’s strict yield curve control policy will now allow movements in the range of around plus and minus 0.5% without “rigid limits,” the central bank said. The central bank also offered to buy 10-year bonds at 1% every business day through fixed-rate operations, effectively expanding its tolerance by another 50 basis points.

The unexpected move rattled Asia-Pacific markets, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 falling by over 2%, the yen gaining and the 10-year bond yield rising to its highest level since September 2014.

Global markets are sensitive to monetary policy moves in Japan, due to its longstanding status as the world’s biggest creditor nation.

On the data front, gross domestic product readings from some of the euro zone’s biggest economies painted a mixed picture. France’s economy grew by 0.5% versus the prior quarter, up from 0.1% growth, though Germany stagnated. Spanish growth came in at 0.4%, a slight dip from 0.5%.

The Stoxx 600 climbed 1.4% on Thursday as the European Central Bank delivered an expected 25-basis-point rate hike and gave few clues as to how far it has left to go, though it stressed inflation is “still expected to remain too high for too long.”

Meanwhile U.S. stocks on the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a 13-day winning streak Thursday as investors took profits and digested the economic and earnings picture so far.

Source: Consumer News Business Channel

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