Asian stocks fell even amid speculation the European Central Bank will boost stimulus through a sovereign-bond purchase program under the quantitative-easing strategy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost 0.1 percent to 134.46 as of 9:05 a.m. in Tokyo before markets open in China and Hong Kong. An ECB Executive Board proposal calls for as much as $1.3 trillion in asset purchases through the end of 2016, according to two euro-area central-bank officials who have seen the document. The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index added 0.5 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.6 percent to extend a seven-year high yesterday.
Japan™s Topix index slid 0.1 percent. Australia™s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.5 percent and South Korea™s Kospi index added 0.4 percent. New Zealand™s NZX 50 Index added 0.2 percent after yesterday closing at a record high.
The ECB proposal could still be changed significantly, the people said, asking not to be identified as it is confidential. Purchases won™t start before March 1, one of the people said. The central bank will announce its policy decision today.