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Asian markets reverse gain before Bank of Japan meeting

Asian markets reverse gain before Bank of Japan meeting

Most Asian stocks declined on Tuesday in late morning trade, led by utility and consumer discretionary shares, as investors awaited the outcome of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell less than 0.1% to 132 as of 11:47 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 0.4%, paring an earlier gain of as much as 0.5%.

South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.2%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.1%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index declined 0.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose was little changed, erasing earlier losses, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index retreated 0.4%.

Investors hope that the BOJ, under pressure from new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will raise monetary stimulus to pull the economy out of its third recession in five years. It has pushed the yen 11% lower versus the dollar in the past three months.

According to 21 of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, the BOJ will today adopt the 2% inflation target that Abe has called for.

Korea Gas Corp., a liquefied-natural-gas distributor, plunged slumped 8.1% in Seoul, after the company scrapped a plan to sell asset- backed securities.

Sunac China Holdings Ltd., a property developer, declined 6.4% in Hong Kong on a share-sale plan.

Kirin Holdings Co., a Japanese drinks maker, added 4.2% after the company said no decision has been made in response to a report it may sell its stake in Fraser & Neave Ltd.

Wall Street was closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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