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Japan Stocks Rise, Led by Banks, After BOJ Annoucement

Japanese stocks rose, with the Topix Index extending an eight-month high, as Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. led lenders higher after the Bank of Japan expanded its asset-purchase plan the third time in four months.

Mitsubishi UFJ, Japan’s biggest bank, gained 2.3 percent to reverse earlier declines. Tokio Marine Holdings Inc., an insurer, rose 2.4 percent. Mitsubishi Estate Co., Japan’s biggest developer by market value, climbed 1.5 percent.

“The BOJ decision was what the market expected but now investors are hopeful the Liberal Democratic Party will add more pressure to the Bank of Japan for more easing next year,” said Hidehiro Tomioka, who helps oversee $1.2 billion at Manulife Asset Management (Japan) Ltd. in Tokyo. “I think real change will come after the new cabinet is formed and the government starts moving next year.”

The Topix rose 0.4 percent to 842.56 as of 1:43 p.m. in Tokyo after earlier dropping as much as 0.5 percent. About eight stocks gained for every seven that fell on the 1,680 member index. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.4 percent to 10,116.89 as Fast Retailing Co. and Softbank Corp., the top three most heavily weighted stocks on the gauge, dropped.

The central bank expanded its asset-purchase fund to 76 trillion yen ($903 billion) from 66 trillion yen, according to a statement released in Tokyo today, and kept its credit lending program unchanged at 25 trillion yen. Some 17 or 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected more stimulus to be announced today.

The Nikkei 225 has risen about 16 percent since Nov. 14, when elections were called. Shares rose on expectations the Liberal Democratic Party, which returned to power at the polls last weekend, will raise spending and secure more easing from the central bank to boost the economy, as well as doubling nation’s inflation goal to 2 percent.

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