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Asian shares mixed, Tokyo surges after BoJ decision

Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday, but Tokyo surged 3.13 per cent after the Bank of Japan expanded its lending scheme to stimulate borrowing, while holding off on fresh easing measures.

HONG KONG: Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday, but Tokyo surged 3.13 per cent after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) expanded its lending scheme to stimulate borrowing, while holding off on fresh easing measures.

After a day of gains, Asia's markets had no cues from Wall Street which was closed for the Presidents' Day holiday.

Tokyo's Nikkei-225 index soared 450.13 points to 14,843.24, while Seoul was flat, edging up 0.03 per cent, or 0.55 points, to 1,946.91 and Sydney gained 0.18 per cent, or 9.9 points, to 5,292.8.

Shanghai fell on profit-taking, losing 0.77 per cent, or 16.35 points, to end at 2,119.07, while Hong Kong edged up 0.23 per cent, with the benchmark Hang Seng index adding 51.78 points to 22,587.72.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, slipped 0.41 per cent, or 4.77 points, to 1,155.62.

"The (China) market may resume its uptrend in the coming sessions as there's ample liquidity... we are unlikely to see an inflow of IPOs (initial public offerings) until March," Capital Securities analyst Amy Lin told Dow Jones Newswires

Investors were earlier gripped by worries over tight liquidity conditions as a flood of IPOs in January diverted funds from the secondary market.

All eyes were on the Bank of Japan's governor Haruhiko Kuroda's post-meeting comments for signs of future policy moves, after weak Japanese growth data for the final quarter of 2013 worsened fears about the impact of an April sales tax rise.

While the world's number three economy grew 1.6 per cent over 2013 -- its best performance in three years -- it slowed to 0.3 per cent in the October-December quarter, presenting a major challenge for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bid to kick-start growth after almost two decades of deflation.

The BoJ said it had decided to double the sum of loan schemes to banks in a bid to stimulate lending to firms and to finance growth-stoking projects such as environmental research and natural resources development.

In an afternoon press briefing, Kuroda said policy-makers had "significantly boosted the capacity of our engine -- this is like we put on new tyres to make the most of that engine".

Expanding the loans schemes was "nothing huge, but it is the first significant change of policy since the (Bank of Japan) started on its massive easing cycle last April", said Chris Tedder, research analyst at Forex.com in Sydney.

On currency markets, the yen tumbled after the BoJ announcement as the greenback fetched 102.37 yen, surging from below the 102-yen level earlier Tuesday.

The euro bought $1.3717 against $1.3695 in London late Monday, while rising to 140.49 yen from 139.42 yen.

Oil prices were mixed in Asia. New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for March delivery, rose 31 cents to $100.61, while Brent North Sea crude for April eased 17 cents to 109.01.

Gold fetched $1,315.44 an ounce at 1012 GMT from $1,325.30 late Monday.

In other markets:
-- Kuala Lumpur fell 0.12 per cent, or 2.24 points, to 1,825.24. Axiata Group lost 0.2 per cent to 6.54 ringgit, while Telekom Malaysia gained 0.5 per cent to 5.59 ringgit.

-- Manila closed 0.42 per cent higher, gaining 26.15 points to 6,193.97. Top-traded Ayala Corp gained 2.78 per cent to 555 pesos while Ayala Land Inc rose 3.23 per cent to 27.20 pesos.

-- Wellington closed flat ahead of the earnings season, edging up 0.11 points to 4,895.10. Fletcher Building rose 0.63 to NZ$9.60 and Telecom Corp fell 1.24 per cent to NZ$2.39.

-- Taipei rose 0.43 per cent, or 36.68 points, to 8,556.23. Hon Hai rose 0.36 per cent to NT$83.8 while TSMC fell 0.46 per cent to NT$108.0.

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