Nikkei turns lower as crude prices fall, BOJ says no plans to ease now
TOKYO Jan 15 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks turned negative on Friday afternoon, giving up earlier gains as oil prices fell and after the Bank of Japan's chief said he had no immediate plan to further ease policy.
The Nikkei share average fell 0.5 percent to 17,160.32 in midafternoon trade. The benchmark index rose as much as 2.1 percent in early trading but gave up all of those gains in the afternoon.
Market sentiment was hit by falling crude prices, with U.S. crude oil futures turning lower after posting the first significant gains for 2016 in the previous session.
Separately, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Friday reiterated that the country's price trend was improving steadily reflecting a moderate economic recovery, and said that he had no plan to expand monetary stimulus now.
Traders said that falling U.S. futures also sapped risk appetite.
The broader Topix fell 0.3 percent to 1,402.45 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 declined 0.3 percent to 12,623.93. (Reporting by Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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