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Stocks Storm Higher, BoJ Leaves Rates Unchanged

The Japanese yen slid to over 156 against the U.S. dollar on Friday after the Bank of Japan left its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The BOJ kept its benchmark policy rate at 0%-0.1% as expected. Japan’s central bank also said it will continue to conduct bond purchases in line with the March decision.

The yen touched fresh lows following the decision, hitting 156.79 against the U.S. dollar in afternoon trading.

Tokyo’s headline inflation rate for April came in at 1.8%, slowing from the 2.6% in March. Core inflation in the capital — which strips out prices of fresh food — sharply fell to 1.6% from March’s 2.4%, missing expectations of 2.2% from economists polled by Reuters.

Tokyo inflation data is widely considered as a leading indicator of nationwide trends.

The Nikkei 225 Index recovered from Thursday’s heavy losses and took on 306.28 points, or 0.8%, to 37,934.76.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index advanced 366.61 points, or 2.1%, to 17,651.15.

Australia returned from holiday to lose ground, dragged by industrial and health services stocks.

In other markets

In Shanghai, the CSI 300 gathered 53.99 points, or 1.5%, to 3,584.27.

In Korea, the Kospi regained 27.71 points, or 1.1%, to 2,656.33.

In Singapore, the Straits Times Index sank 7.65 points, or 0.2%, to 3,280.51.

In Taiwan, the Taiex index hiked 263.09 points, or 1.3%, to 20,120.51.

In New Zealand, the NZX 50 index returned from holiday to shed 141.34 points, or 1.2%, to 11,805.09.

In Australia, the ASX 200 lost 107.09 points, or 1.4%, to 7,575.94.