Market Overview

Japan's Market Falls On Sales Tax Delay While Investors Focus On OPEC, ECB Meetings

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Asian stocks were mostly mixed on Thursday with a notable exception: Japan.

Japan's Nikkei index lost 2.32 percent, its worst daily decline in a month, after the country's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially moved a planned sales tax hike forward by two years. This is raising concerns of a credit rating downgrade and the sustainability of the country's public debt, which exceeds 200 percent of its GDP.

"This is not the first time for the consumption tax hike to be pushed back," CNBC quoted the Deveopment Bank of Singapore as saying in a note. "The second delay this time may have increased investors' concerns about economic uncertainties and skepticism about Abenomics," as Prime Minister Abe's economic reform program is called.

Meanwhile, Australia's ASX index lost 0.76 percent and Taiwan's TSEC index lost 0.48 percent.

Chinese equities were higher as the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.40 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 0.47 percent. India's Mumbai Sensex index was also higher by 0.48 percent.

Find out what's going on in today's market and bring any questions you have to Benzinga's PreMarket Prep.

On the other hand, European stocks were mostly higher with less than four hours of trading remaining. The European Central Bank will meet in Vienna on Thursday and a rate announcement is scheduled for 1:45 p.m. local time (7:45 a.m. ET). A press conference will follow the decision.

The UK's FTSE 100 index was higher by 0.35 percent, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC indices were each higher by 0.06 percent.

Finally, oil prices were trading flat Thursday as representatives from OPEC nations also gathered in Vienna. Early reports indicate Iran still has no intention of agreeing to any cutback in output as the country looks to regain market share it lost during years of economic sanctions.

"An output ceiling has no benefit to us," CNBC quoted Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying.

"Expectations around today's OPEC meeting are quite low, with some speculation about the potential for some form of quota or freeze, but the likelihood is that nothing will change," CNBC also quoted CMC chief markets analyst Michael Hewson as saying.

Posted-In: Abenomics Asian Stocks ecbNews Commodities Global Pre-Market Outlook Markets

 

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