Asian shares mixed, Tokyo surges

HONG KONG - Asian shares were mixed on Tuesday, but Tokyo surged 3.13% after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) expanded its lending scheme to stimulate borrowing, while holding off on fresh easing measures.

After a day of gains, Asia's markets had no cues from Wall Street which was closed for the Presidents' Day holiday.

Tokyo's Nikkei-225 index soared 450.13 points to 14,843.24, while Seoul was flat, edging up 0.03%, or 0.55 points, to 1,946.91 and Sydney gained 0.18%, or 9.9 points, to 5,292.8.

Shanghai fell on profit-taking, losing 0.77%, or 16.35 points, to end at 2,119.07, while Hong Kong edged up 0.23%, with the benchmark Hang Seng index adding 51.78 points to 22,587.72.

The SET index lost 0.46%, or 6.16 points, to 1,326.21; Kuala Lumpur fell 0.12%, or 2.24 points, to 1,825.24; Manila closed 0.42% higher, gaining 26.15 points to 6,193.97; Jakarta closed up 0.02%, or 0.82 points, at 4,556.19 and Singapore closed up 0.05%, or 1.50 points, to 3,070.78.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China's second exchange, slipped 0.41%, or 4.77 points, to 1,155.62.

''The (China) market may resume its uptrend in the coming sessions as there's ample liquidity... we are unlikely to see an inflow of IPOs (initial public offerings) until March,'' Capital Securities analyst Amy Lin told Dow Jones Newswires.

Investors were earlier gripped by worries over tight liquidity conditions as a flood of IPOs in January diverted funds from the secondary market.

All eyes were on BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda's post-meeting comments for signs of future policy moves, after weak Japanese growth data for the final quarter of 2013 worsened fears about the impact of an April sales tax rise.

The BoJ said it had decided to double the sum of loan schemes to banks in a bid to stimulate lending to firms and to finance growth-stoking projects such as environmental research and natural resources development.

In an afternoon press briefing, Mr Kuroda said policymakers had ''significantly boosted the capacity of our engine - this is like we put on new tyres to make the most of that engine''.

Expanding the loans schemes was ''nothing huge, but it is the first significant change of policy since the (Bank of Japan) started on its massive easing cycle last April'', said Chris Tedder, research analyst at Forex.com in Sydney.

On currency markets, the yen tumbled after the BoJ announcement as the greenback fetched 102.37 yen, surging from below the 102-yen level earlier Tuesday.

The euro bought $1.3717 against $1.3695 in London late Monday, while rising to 140.49 yen from 139.42 yen.

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