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Morning Bid: BOJ's dovish surprise, AI and the Pope

A man walks past a sign of Bank of Japan outside its headquarters in Tokyo

A look at the day ahead in European and global markets from Ankur Banerjee

The Bank of Japan provided a dovish surprise to the market after the central bank said it would trim bond buying in the future but will come up with a specific plan regarding the reduction only at its next meeting in July.

While it will continue to buy government bonds at the current pace of roughly 6 trillion yen ($38 billion) per month, the central bank decided to lay out details of its tapering plan for the next one to two years at the July meeting.

The move led the yen to weaken to nearly 158 per dollar and the Nikkei to push 0.7% higher as expectations had set in the market of an immediate move by the BOJ.

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As my markets colleague in Tokyo Kevin Buckland puts it: "This is the most dovish outcome that could have been reasonably expected."

That capped an action-packed week that has seen markets price in at least two rate cuts from the Federal Reserve as inflation shows signs of easing even as the U.S. central bank remains cautious.

The final day of talks for the Group of Seven (G7) leaders will be held on Friday, with China topping the agenda before Pope Francis puts in a historic appearance, perhaps not in a puffer jacket, to discuss artificial intelligence.

The focus will also be on European automakers in the wake of the European Commission's decision to slap tariffs on imported Chinese EVs, a move that Beijing has labelled as protectionist behaviour but still lags behind a tougher U.S. position that leans towards an outright decoupling from China.

Futures point to higher open for European bourses with the continent-wide STOXX 600 poised for its weakest weekly performance since mid-January.

The political uncertainty in Europe in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron calling for a snap election in France has kept the euro under pressure. [FRX/]

Meanwhile, Tesla shareholders approved CEO Elon Musk's $56 billion pay package, highlighting the support that Musk enjoys from Tesla's retail investor base, many of whom are vocal fans of the mercurial billionaire.

The proposal passed despite opposition from some large institutional investors and proxy firms.

Key developments that could influence markets on Friday:

Economic events: France inflation report for May, euro zone trade balance for April.

(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)