SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Asian stock markets were mostly higher Friday despite the bout of turbulence overnight brought on by the European Central Bank’s announcement of additional stimulus measures.
KEEPING SCORE: South Korea’s Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 1,971.05 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.8 percent to 20,138.17. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 5,229.70. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.2 percent to 16,814.79 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China declined was down 0.4 percent at midday to 2,793.01. Shares in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.
EUROPE WATCH: Investor cheer over the ECB’s announcement of interest rate cuts was short lived, as comments by bank chief Mario Draghi underscored the weakness of the 19-country euro-zone and the desperation by monetary authorities to act. But after initially heading southward, Asian markets mostly bounced back.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Running out of grenades isn’t a bad thing,” IG market strategist Evan Lucas said in a commentary, referring to convictions among some commentators that the ECB has “run out of easing ammunition.” He added, “Draghi mainly met expectations and has publicly stated that rates are now going to be rooted to these level for years. Equities will ultimately win out with policy that accommodative.”
WALL STREET: In the U.S., stocks swung between gains and losses on Thursday, then ended right back where they started. The Standard and Poor’s 500 eked out a gain, finishing just 0.02 percent higher at 1,989.57.The Dow Jones industrial average gave up less than 0.1 percent to 16,995.13. The Nasdaq composite gave up 0.3 percent, to 4,662.16
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude added 78 cents to $38.62 per barrel in on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract finished 45 cents lower at $37.84 a barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, gained 74 cents at $40.79 a barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 113.46 yen from 113.22 yen while the euro fell to $1.1171 from $1.1178.