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Stock plunge spurs talk of fresh easing but BOJ's tools limited

Global economic turmoil clouds Japan's plan to escape deflation

Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda attends the Paris Europlace International Financial Forum in Tokyo on Nov. 19. The governor has few options remaining should further monetary easing be deemed necessary.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Economists increasingly expect the Bank of Japan to adopt further monetary easing next year as tumbling stock prices worldwide jeopardize the central bank's road map for escaping deflation, but the BOJ has very few tricks still up its sleeve.

The Nikkei Stock Average closed Wednesday at 19,327 -- up 171 points from the previous session, but 4,943 points under the year-to-date high reached in October. The index even fell below 19,000 briefly during trading Wednesday.

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