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To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile.  The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter.”
— Aleister Crowley (1875–1947)

Stocks in record territory as Japan index leaps

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.(Photo: Andrew Theodorakis, Getty Images)U.S. stocks are jumping Friday, topping their recent highs and erasing the losses from the early-October swoon, as investors cheered a move by the Bank of Japan to add more stimulus to its ailing economy.Japan’s Nikkei 225 took a super-sized 4.8% leap on news that the country’s central bank will boost asset purchases in an effort to jumpstart its lagging economy and try to boost inflation, which is dangerously low.The Dow Jones industrial average blew past its previous intraday high, and the SP 500 and Nasdaq composite all wiped out their losses in the recent pullback and hit fresh 2014 highs.As of 11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average is up 1.1%, the SP 500 is climbing 1% and the Nasdaq is 1.4% higher.The Dow is now about 20 points above its previous, Sept. 19 intraday record of 17,350.64 early in the session. The Dow is also on track for its 19th record close of the year, if it can finish above its Sept. 19 record close of 17,279.74.The SP 500 is also a couple of points above its closing high of 2011.36 from Sept. 18. At its high Friday, the benchmark U.S. stock index hit 2013.91, which was about 5 points shy of its intraday record of 2019.26 it notched on Sept. 19.The tech-packed Nasdaq climbed as high as 4641.51 in early trading Friday, which marks its highest level since in more than 14 years. At its peak today, the Nasdaq was at its highest level since March 29, 2000.In what amounts to a massive easing in monetary policy by Japan in its fight to stave off deflation, the Japanese central bank upped the amount of money it is pumping into the system. The announcement, which caught investors by surprise, also included new and more aggressive asset purchases.The BofJ said it would boost its purchases of Japanese government bonds, buy more long-term bonds, as well as exchange traded funds that track Japan’s benchmark stock index and real estate investment trusts.”The Bank of Japan surprised markets,” Barclays told clients in a report.Japan’s central bank was under pressure to increase stimulus to support growth as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe weighs approval of another sales tax hike next year.Abe scored another win Friday when Japan’s $1.1 trillion public pension fund approved a plan to double its holdings of shares and cut back sharply on bonds in its portfolio to help improve its investment returns.Abe and other officials say it is needed to ensure the fund can meet its obligations to retirees.The Nikkei ended up gaining 755.56 points thanks to the stimulus news. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index rose 1.3%. The Shanghai composite gained 1.2%.European benchmarks are also gaining, with France’s CAC 40 racing 2.3% higher, Germany’s DAX index up 2.1% and Britain’s FTSE 100 up 1.2%.Contributing: The Associated Press.

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