Largely muted reactions amid doubts of eurozone growth
Asian stocks were choppy Friday as investors brushed off a bigger than expected stimulus package from the European Central Bank.
Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average NIK, +0.51% was down 0.9%, Australia’s ASX/S&P 200 XJO, +0.32% was up about 0.2%, and Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.11% was up 0.1%.
In China, the Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, +0.20% was down 0.5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.85% was up 0.4%.
“Further ECB action looks unlikely until at least the second half of the year,” said Colin Graham, chief investment officer of multi-asset solutions for BNP Paribas Investment Partners. “We believe fresh steps will depend on incoming data and might well reflect lessons learned from the market reaction to the latest measures.”
The ECB on Thursday unveiled stimulus measures that were more aggressive than economists expected. The package included expanding the scope and size of the ECB’s bond purchases each month and slashing three key interest rates.
Stocks initially rallied in Europe and the U.S. on Thursday, but retreated after ECB President Mario Draghi signaled that no further rate cuts were coming in the near future due to concerns about their impact on banks.
In other Asian markets Friday, the Korean won and Malaysian ringgit were slightly weaker against the U.S. dollar, highlighting investors’ risk aversion across the region. Chinese authorities also guided the yuan to its strongest value against the U.S. dollar this year, which triggered selling of the greenback Friday morning.
Korean shares were extending gains after the benchmark index on Thursday pushed into positive territory for the first time this year. The Kospi is up 0.5% since the start of January.