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Friday, January 23, 2015, Magh 10, 1421, Robi-Us-Sani 1, 1436 Hijr

Asia stocks mostly higher ahead of ECB meet
Published : Friday, 23 January, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 11

HONG KONG, Jan 22:  Asian markets today extended their rally this week, while the euro dipped ahead of a much-anticipated European Central Bank policy meeting that is forecast to see it introduce more monetary easing measures.
Tokyo added 0.28 percent, or 48.54 points, to end at 17,329.02, Sydney rose 0.49 percent, or 26.52 points, to 5,419.9 and Seoul was flat, dipping a marginal 0.41 points to 1,920.82.
In late trade Hong Kong was up 0.93 percent and Shanghai gained 0.76 percent, the mainland China index recovering almost all the losses it made on Monday in reaction to a regulatory crackdown on margin trading.
Eyes are firmly on the meeting later Thursday of the ECB, with expectations high that it will unveil a programme of asset-purchasing, or quantitative easing (QE).
Speculation has been rife for several months that more stimulus would be announced as inflation continues to weaken -- last month prices actually fell in December for the first time in five years.
According to analysts at UniCredit, the market is expecting the ECB to unveil a programme worth between 500 and 800 billion euros.
Wall Street took its rally into a third day Wednesday, the Dow ending up 0.22 percent, the S&P 500 adding 0.47 percent and the Nasdaq 0.27 percent higher.
With traders placing bets on a vast round of easing the euro has been hammered in the past few weeks, especially as it comes just a few months after the US Federal Reserve wound up its own QE programme and considers an interest rate hike this year.
 At one point last week the single currency fell below $1.1500 for the first time since late 2003.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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