Asian stock indexes and their European counterparts traded broadly lower Thursday as investors reeled under the Bank of Japan’s surprise decision to hold back further stimulus. The rout in Asia was led by Japan’s Nikkei 225 index, which plunged 3.61 percent — its biggest intra-day loss since Feb. 12.
“It’s a total shock,” Nader Naeimi, the Sydney-based head of dynamic markets at AMP Capital Investors, told Bloomberg. “From currencies to equities to everything -- you can see the reaction in the markets. I can’t believe this. It’s very disappointing.”
Earlier on Thursday, after the BoJ refrained from expanding its already expansive monetary stimulus program, markets in Asia, which had earlier risen on expectations of fresh stimulus, broadly dropped and the yen, which had also weakened against the dollar over the past few days, appreciated, surging 3 percent against the greenback.
The Japanese currency was trading at 108.18 against the dollar at 6:32 a.m. EDT.
“We still think the BOJ will go ahead with further easing at some point, probably at the July meeting,” Michael Moen, a fixed income Asia investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, told MarketWatch. “Not enough time has really passed for them to assess the impact of the negative interest rate policy on the broader economy at this time.”
Trading was also choppy elsewhere in Asia. China’s Shanghai Composite index ended the day down 0.27 percent, South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.72 percent, while India’s S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.77 percent.
European stocks also dropped Thursday, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 trading down 1.1 percent in early afternoon trade. U.K.’s FTSE 100 was down 0.82 percent, France’s CAC 40 was down 1.27 percent and Germany’s DAX index was trading 1.17 percent in the red.
U.S. stock futures — the S&P, Nasdaq and Dow Jones — were also down over 0.4 percent at 6:32 a.m. EDT. Earlier, on Wednesday, U.S. bourses were mixed after the Federal Reserve left its key rates unchanged.
Oil prices, meanwhile, held steady Thursday after hitting a 2016 high the previous day. Brent crude futures were last trading at $47.19 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate futures were at $45.32 a barrel.