HONG KONG (AFP) - Hopes that the Japanese central bank will announce measures to stem the yens rise lifted the dollar on Thursday while also giving a boost to Asian stock markets. Traders bought up the greenback following a report that the Bank of Japan will consider steps to prevent any further strengthening of the nations currency, which hit a 15-year high against the US unit last week. Sentiment was also stoked after Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda reiterated at a regular press briefing that he would closely watch the forex market. The dollar climbed to 85.63 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade, compared with 85.44 in New York Wednesday. The euro slipped to 1.2808 dollars from 1.2852 and to 109.71 yen from 109.79 in New York. Given weakness in Japans April-June GDP and the governments decision to take additional economic stimulus steps, the BoJ may have no choice but to do its utmost efforts to cooperate with the government, Nikko Cordial Securities chief market economist Mari Iwashita told Dow Jones Newswires. The Sankei Shimbun reported that the BoJ may expand its programme to provide funds to financial institutions at a 0.1 percent fixed rate for three months, which is expected to help lower interest rates in the market and bring down the yen. The government this week said it was considering economic stimulus measures to kick-start a faltering economic recovery, which data showed had eased on Monday due to weak exports and domestic demand. Stocks rose amid hopes that any economic and currency measures could give a much-needed lift to Japans economy. Tokyos Nikkei ended 1.32 percent, or 122.14 points, higher at 9,362.68 with exporters, who suffer from a strong yen, the beneficiaries. Confidence that upcoming earnings data will be strong helped Hong Kong to finish 0.24 percent, or 49.73 points, higher at 21,072.46, while Shanghai rose 0.81 percent, or 21.68 points, to 2,687.98. Sydney bounced back from earlier lows to close 4.1 points higher at 4,479. The index had been down in the morning on concerns over miner BHP Billitons hostile takeover bid for Potash Corp, the worlds largest fertiliser producer. The index heavyweight announced on Wednesday the 40-billion-US-dollar offer after a previous bid was rebuffed by the Canadian company on Tuesday. BHP shed 0.3 percent. On Wall Street the Dow edged up 0.09 percent after upbeat earnings figures from discount retail giant Target and John Deere, the worlds largest tractor manufacturer.