Nikkei falls on stronger yen after BOJ stands pat
By Joshua Hunt
TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks fell on Tuesday after the central bank decided to leave its main policies unchanged, resulting in a stronger yen that pushed exporter shares lower.
The Nikkei share average declined as much as 1.1 percent shortly after the Bank of Japan announced its decision. Japan's benchmark index gained back some ground to end 0.7 percent lower at 17,117.07.
The profit outlook for major exporters was hurt by the stronger yen, with Toyota Motor Corp shares ending 1.8 lower and Panasonic Corp share falling 1.4 percent.
"We've seen a bit of a leg down on the firmer yen, but the outcome of the BOJ meeting is basically what we've all been expecting," said Gavin Parry, managing director at Parry International Trading.
"It is noteworthy that they've removed language saying that they might cut interest rates further if necessary, and that they've decided to exclude (money-reserve funds) from negative interest rates starting in May."
Traders said attention has now turned toward the conclusion of Wednesday's U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, while Japanese investors will look towards BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's post-meeting press conference.
"Kuroda will face some awkward questions on why the yen is significantly stronger now than before negative rates were revealed," Sean Callow, senior currency strategist at Wespac, said in a note.
The broader Topix slid 0.6 percent to end the day at 1,372.08 with all but 8 of its 33 subindexes in negative territory.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 shed 0.7 percent to 12,399.15. (Reporting by Joshua Hunt; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
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