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Japan's Nikkei jumps above 13,000 on BOJ stimulus

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PAMELA SAMPSON | April 4, 2013 11:29 PM EST | AP

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BANGKOK — Japan's benchmark stock index surged above 13,000 for the first time in more than four years Friday, a day after the country's central bank announced aggressive action to lift the economy out of an extended slump.

The Bank of Japan unveiled plans Thursday to pump huge amounts of money into the financial system in order to spur spending and borrowing in an economy that has suffered from growth-crippling deflation for years.

The central bank's announcement dragged down the yen, giving a boost to shares of Japan's powerhouse manufacturers. A cheaper currency makes Japanese goods less costly for Americans and other foreigners and raises the value of repatriated profits.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo soared 3.8 percent to 13,109.58, its highest level since August 2008. The dollar rose to 97.06 yen from 96.13 yen late Thursday. The dollar was at about 92.80 before the BOJ's two-day policy meeting ended with its dramatic announcements Thursday.

Elsewhere in Asia, however, stock markets sagged after a report showed the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose to a four-month high of 385,000 last week. The government will issue its employment report Friday, which investors look at closely for insight into how the U.S. economy is doing.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 2.1 percent to 21,865.89. South Korea's Kospi dropped 1.8 percent to 1,925.35 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.5 percent to 4,889.20.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed higher Thursday, regaining half of its decline the day before, as investors took advantage of low prices to get back into the market.

The Dow rose 0.4 percent at 14,606.11. The S&P 500 gained 0.4 percent to 1,559.98. The Nasdaq composite dropped 0.2 percent to 3,224.98.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 9 cents to $93.35 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.19 to finish at $93.26 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.

The euro fell to $1.2922 from $1.2939 late Thursday in New York.