Japanese stocks finish flat following central bank rate hike

Japanese stocks finished flat Wednesday as the market shrugged off Japan's central bank rate hike.

The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues fell 25.91 points, or 0.14 percent, to end the day's session at 17,913.21 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. On Tuesday, the index fell 0.01 percent after touching its highest close since May 8, 2000 on Monday.

But the broader Topix index, which includes all shares on the exchange's first section, rose 4.50 points, or 0.25 percent to 1,787.23 the Topix's highest close since April 7, 2006.

The Bank of Japan raised its benchmark interest rate to 0.5 percent, effective Wednesday, judging that price stability and consumer spending would withstand slightly tighter credit.

The BOJ's decision came at the end of a two-day monetary policy board meeting, underscoring confidence in the ongoing moderate recovery in the world's second-largest economy, reports AP.

"As the market has factored in an expected rate hike, there were just mild fluctuations on the decision," said Yasuhiro Kanezaki, a trader with Marusan Securities.

Despite the Nikkei index's slip, steel stocks were among gainers, Kanezaki said.

In currency trading, the dollar was trading at 120.28 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Wednesday, up from 120.01 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro rose to US$1.3142 from US$1.3138.

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