Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index closes down more than 1.4 percent 


Tokyo, March 19 (AFP/APP): Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index closed down more than 1.4 percent Friday on profit-taking as some blue-chip shares faced extra pressure after the Bank of Japan’s policy decision.

The Nikkei 225 index lost 1.41 percent, or 424.70 points, to 29,792.05. Over the week, however, it edged up 0.2 percent. The broader Topix index rose 0.18 percent, or 3.70 points, to 2,012.21 and jumped 3.1 percent from a week earlier. Japanese shares opened lower as investors locked in profits after a rise in US government bond yields brought the Wall Street stocks rally to an end.

The Bank of Japan said Friday afternoon that it maintained its negative interest rate and tweaked its monetary easing programme to shore up the pandemic-hit economy.

“The decision was largely in line with expectations,” said Toshikazu Horiuchi, a broker at IwaiCosmo Securities. “But several major companies, including Fast Retailing, faced extra selling pressure as the BoJ said it would narrow a list of shares under its ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) purchases,” Horiuchi told AFP. “Trading was volatile today and the market’s daily trading range is expected to remain wide for now,” he added.

Selling/Buying rates of major currencies issued by NBP Karachi

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