TOKYO — Asian markets were mostly lower Friday on disappointment about the European Central Bank’s decision to keep policy unchanged.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 fell 0.2 percent in the morning session to 16,927.20. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.3 percent to 2,036.07. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 percent to 24,026.89, while the Shanghai Composite slipped nearly 0.2 percent to 3,090.58. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.8 percent to 5,342.102.
EUROPE FACTOR: Weighing on market sentiments was the European Central Bank decision to leave key interest rates unchanged. ECB President Mario Draghi also seemed relatively confident about the economy and less inclined to hint at more stimulus than some analysts had expected.
WALL STREET: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 46.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 18,479.91. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index slid 4.86 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,181.30. A sell-off in technology stocks weighed on the Nasdaq composite index, which fell 24.44 points, or 0.5 percent, to 5,259.48.
ANALYST’S TAKE: “Investors in Asia will focus on two developments from the overnight session — ECB policy decision and the massive drawdown in US crude stockpiles,” says Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG in Singapore. “The reason behind the enormous drawdown is transitory, and does not influence the demand-supply situation of the oil market. One week’s worth of data does not make a trend.”
ENERGY: Oil prices lost some of its overnight surge following a report indicating fuel stockpiles fell precipitously last week. Benchmark U.S. crude shed 38 cents to $47.24 a barrel in New York. It had risen $2.12 to $47.62 overnight. Brent crude, used to price international oils, edged down 43 cents to $49.56 in London.
CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 102.06 yen from 101.50 yen late Thursday in Asia. The euro climbed to $ 1.1272 from $1.1253.