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BOJ's stock spree lends companies reliable hand

Fund purchases make central bank No. 3 holder of Japanese shares

BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda.

TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan's purchases of exchange-traded funds have made it a leading shareholder in nearly a quarter of Japan's listed companies and show no sign of slowing down, pleasing management looking for long-term support.

To retail investors in the Tokyo market, 12:30 p.m. to around 2 p.m. is "BOJ Time" -- the early hours of afternoon trading when trust banks working on behalf of the central bank go shopping, should conditions permit it. In general, these ETF purchases occur when the overall market has fallen. Making more refined predictions as to when the bank's army will buy has become a favorite pastime in certain quarters of the internet.

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