Asian shares mostly weaker with Shanghai on rollercoaster day

Shutterstock photo - - China's Shanghai Composite Index swung between gains and losses on Friday, while most other Asian stock indexes headed lower after the European Central Bank tempered expectations of expanded stimulus measures at its December meeting.

After posting the best one-day percentage increase since 2012 on Thursday, the Shanghai Composite veered between gains and losses on Friday as investors tested the strength of a recent rally. The index rose as much as 2.7% before plunging 3% in the space of 30 minutes. The benchmark was last down 0.6% at 2,881.28.

The Hang Seng China Enterprise (CEI) was last up 1.2% at 11613.15, the highest level since February 2013, while the broader Hang Seng Index rose 0.8% to 24026.29.

The Nikkei 225 was down 0.1% at 17865.91 following five consecutive days of gains that took it to a seven-year high. The U.S. dollar, which rose above ¥120 for the first time since 2007 on Thursday, was last at ¥119.91.

In Australia, stocks fell as resources companies declined before the release of U.S. jobs data. The S&P/ASX 200 index was down 1% at 5316.60. Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi was flat at 1986.10.

Overnight, U.S. stocks slipped on Thursday after the European Central Bank refrained from implementing fresh stimulus measures to boost the economy, while uncertainty ahead of Friday's November jobs report kept investors on the sidelines as well.

The Dow 30 fell 0.07%, the S&P 500 index fell 0.12%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.11%.

The European Central Bank left interest rates on hold at their current record lows of 0.05% earlier Thursday, in a widely anticipated decision.

U.S. stocks dipped after ECB President Mario Draghi said the monetary authorities would reassess the success of its existing stimulus programs and the impact of weak oil prices on the euro area economy in the early part of next year.

He said the bank could potentially change the size, scale and composition of its existing stimulus programs. The governing council remains unanimous that it will take further measures if necessary, he added.

The ECB's current stimulus program includes purchases of asset-backed securities and covered bonds, though markets have been keeping a close eye out for plans to announce purchases of government debt, a stimulus tool known as quantitative easing that boost stocks by suppressing long-term borrowing costs.

The bank's decision to remain in a wait-and-see mode dampened U.S. stocks on Friday, as fresh stimulus across the Atlantic would have boosted equities in Europe, home to many U.S. business partners.

The ECB substantially revised down its forecasts for growth and inflation and warned that the latest forecasts do not take into account the recent steep drop in oil prices.

The bank now expects the euro zone economy to grow by just 0.8% this year, 1.0% in 2015 and 1.5% in 2016. It cut its inflation forecast for this year to just 0.5% from 0.6% and to 0.7% in 2015 from 1.1%.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Nov. 29 decreased by 17,000 to 297,000 from the previous week's revised total of 314,000, in line with expectations.

On Friday, the Labor Department will release its November jobs report, and uncertainty ahead of time also kept many on the sidelines.

On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP reported that the U.S. private sector created 208,000 jobs in November, falling short of expectations for jobs growth of 223,000 and down from 233,000 in October.

Still, the number topped 200,000, which allayed fears that Friday's official November jobs report may indicate that the labor market may be softening, though many opted to wait for the official report to hit the wire before trading on the data. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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