ECB's Forum in Focus, Asia Markets Close Mostly Lower

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Yields on long-dated Japanese Government bonds edged up on Wednesday after European and USA bond yields soared on comments from the European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that fuelled expectations that the ECB is close to reducing stimulus.

Government bonds were belted after Mr Draghi's speech, with German two-year yields hitting their highest since last June.

The financial index's 1.16 percent rise led the gainers, with Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup all up more than 1 percent.

Traders took the comments as a signal the European Central Bank was gearing up to wind down the programme as early as January, an outcome that officials said had yet to be discussed and will ultimately depend on inflation and other economic data in the coming months.

The euro rose as much as 0.5 percent against the dollar to a one-year high of $1.1390 after jumping 1.4 percent Tuesday.

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Against the yen, the euro eased 0.1 percent to 127.23 yen.

Others had cast doubt on how far bond yields could rise. But the banking and insurance sectors outperformed on expectations of higher rates.

But the speech was full of caveats, which also imply that the European Central Bank is still ready to ease policy if financing conditions tighten as a result, for example, of a stronger euro or higher yields in the United States or Europe, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen had said in London that it was appropriate to "gradually" raise US rates, although there was an acknowledgement that inflation had seen some slippage.

Euro bulls pushed it up 0.5 percent to a one-year high of $1.1373 with FX traders waiting for another flurry of ECB policymaker speeches at a conference hosted by the central bank in Portugal.

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The announcement on Tuesday that U.S. Senate Republican leaders postponed a vote on a healthcare overhaul continued to fuel skepticism that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration would realize pro-growth infrastructure spending and tax reform policies, hurting the dollar.

USA stock indexes edged lower in early trading Tuesday, led by declines in phone and utilities companies.

A leap in the euro against the dollar was also putting pressure on stocks, as a stronger euro can cut into sales of goods made by European exporters to overseas clients.

Indices: In Frankfurt, the export-heavy DAX 30 lost 0.8% at 12,566.96.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index slid 3 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,435 as of 10:10 a.m. The contract gained 86 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $44.24 per barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, lost 1 cent to $46.91 per barrel in London.

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"If we want to bring inflation to our target of below but close to 2 percent then we have to persist in the type of monetary policy that we been adopting".

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