US stocks extend gains

New York, Dec 21 (IANS) US stocks extended gains, leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average within a strike distance of the milestone of 20,000 points.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday climbed 91.56 points, or 0.46 per cent, to 19,974.62, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 added 8.23 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 2,270.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 26.50 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 5,483.94.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) kept its monetary policy unchanged after the conclusion of its two-day policy meeting, which led to gains in US stocks.

While maintaining its negative 0.1 per cent interest rate on some bank reserves, the BOJ also opted to leave its 10-year Japanese government bond (JGB) yield target at about zero, while annual holdings were kept at a rise of about 80 trillion yen ($682 billion).

Following the policy meeting and opting to hold pat on any new policy changes, the central bank also upgraded its economic assessment saying a moderate recovery trend has continued while exports have picked up.

“Japan’s economy has continued its moderate recovery trend. Overseas economies have continued to grow at a moderate pace, although emerging economies remain sluggish in part. In this situation, exports have picked up,” the BOJ said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tokyo shares closed higher on Tuesday amid the BOJ decision.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average increased 0.53 per cent to 19,494.53 points, its highest closing level this year.

In Europe, equities posted gains on Tuesday despite two separate attacks in the German and Turkish capitals. German benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange increased 0.33 per cent, while French benchmark index CAC 40 added 0.56 per cent.