Asian shares mostly higher after market yoyos on ECB moves

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

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: Japan's Nikkei 225 recovered from earlier losses, gaining 0.5 percent to 16,938.87. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.1 percent to 1,971.41 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was up 0.9 percent to 20,167.89. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent to 5,224.80 while the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China was nearly flat at 2,806.09. 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 the conviction 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, ending 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 88 cents to $38.72 per barrel in electronic trading 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 strengthened to 113.49 yen from 113.22 yen while the euro rose to $1.1180 from $1.1178.