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Asian markets gain on Bank of Japan report

Asian markets gain on Bank of Japan report

Asian markets gained on Monday in late morning trade led by Japanese shares after the yen fell to fresh lows on speculation the next Bank of Japan governor will deploy aggressive monetary easing.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3% to 134 as of 11:11 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix Index, the country’s broadest equity measure, advanced 1.6% as the yen fell after the Kyodo news service reported that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to nominate Asian Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda as BOJ governor.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.7% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi Index lost 0.1%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.1% and China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.3%.

In corporate news, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. jumped 8.8%, pacing gains among Japanese shippers as the yen declined.

Alumina Ltd. rose 3.6% in Sydney after its rating was raised to neutral at Credit Suisse Group AG.

Japanese electronics makers Sharp Corp. plunged 5.5% after two people familiar with its talks with Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group said they’ll probably end 26 March without an agreement.

Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. fell 2%, pacing declines among Hong Kong developers after the city doubled stamp duty on some property transactions.

Investors this week will ponder whether Italy's weekend elections will produce a stable government, and the implications of that for euro zone cohesion, while Moody's credit downgrade on UK will play on confidence in the pound and government bonds.

Markets also look forward to testimony on Tuesday from US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for further clues of when the central bank may slow or stop buying bonds.

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