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Japan's central bank has cut inflation forecast

22 July 2017

The euro hovered below a 14-month high on Thursday before a policy decision by the European Central Bank that may lay the grounds for a policy shift later this year. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.2 percent at 3,237.98.

The euro was up 0.96 percent to $1.1624, and poised for its biggest single-day percentage gain in more than three weeks.

The Bank of Japan on Thursday delayed the time frame for achieving its 2 percent inflation target by a year to fiscal 2019, in a bid to hit its goal against a backdrop of sluggish price gains that have remained resilient to the bank's massive monetary easing initiatives. Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, ANZ Banking and Westpac are lower in a range of 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent.

While the Nasdaq inched up 4.96 points or 0.1 percent to 6,390.00, the Dow dipped 28.97 points or 0.1 percent to 21,611.78 and the S&P 500 edged down 0.38 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 2,473.45.

"The ECB has maintained a very supportive approach, because inflation remains too low, despite better growth prospects", said Gilles Pradere, portfolio manager at RAM Active Investments SA.

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The euro was last at US$1.1517, near the session low of US$1.1511 and down about 0.3 per cent.

With second-quarter reporting season in full swing, Qualcomm shares fell 5.1 percent after the chipmaker's forecast missed estimates.

Overnight, the major USA averages rose between 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent to hit fresh record highs, with sentiment underpinned by rising oil prices, better-than-expected corporate earnings and upbeat housing data. France's CAC 40 and Germany's DAX were little changed in early trading, while Britain's FTSE added 0.2 percent.

New Zealand markets were the exception to the sea of green in Asia, with the S&P/NZX 50 falling 0.8% to 7,672.44.

While suffering against the euro, the dollar also weakened overall against a basket of major currencies.

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Indonesia's Jakarta Composite index was moving up 0.2 percent ahead of interest-rate decision from the Bank of Indonesia.

After several days of relative strength, the down under dollars both turned weaker against the greenback, with the Aussie last off 0.56% at AUD 1.2646 and the Kiwi retreating 0.21% to NZD 1.3621.

Bucking the trend, gold miner Newcrest Mining is advancing nearly 2 percent and Evolution Mining is rising more than 1 percent after gold prices edged higher overnight.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, touching its lowest level in almost five months, suggesting strong job gains that should continue to underpin economic growth.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.6 percent to 20,144.59 and South Korea's Kospi gained 0.5 percent to 2,441.84.

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Japan's central bank has cut inflation forecast