Asian Shares Meander as ECB, BOJ Hold Monetary Policy Steady

People move past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo Friday.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Asian shares were mixed Friday in muted trading after the European Central Bank announced no changes to its stimulus policies.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2 percent to finish at 20,099.75 while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7 percent to 5,722.80. South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.3 percent to 2,450.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 percent to 26,676.22. The Shanghai Composite index slipped 0.1 percent at 3,242.73.

Europe’s central bank maintained its current policies and ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank hasn’t even set a date for considering changes. Still, foreign exchange markets reacted by pushing the euro higher. That followed the Bank of Japan’s decision Thursday to keep its monetary policy unchanged, while pushing back its expected time frame for achieving its 2-percent inflation target to 2019.

Standard & Poor’s 500 index slipped at the finish, losing 0.38 points to 2,473.45. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28.97 points, or 0.1 percent to 21,611.78. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.1 percent to a record high of 6,390.

“The ongoing rally in the euro was the most significant feature of the international market landscape last night. However, growing nervousness over U.S. politics and weak commodity prices has set a soft tone for this morning’s market open,” Ric Spooner of CMC Markets said in a commentary.

Benchmark U.S. crude gained 3 cents to $46.95 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 40 cents on Thursday, to $46.92. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, was unchanged at $49.30 a barrel in London.


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