Global markets reacted cautiously to the European Central Bank's decision to cut interest rates to record lows and introduce new measures meant to help stimulate the region's economy.

While equities mostly edged higher and gold got a boost, the euro actually gained against the US dollar.

"This is very positive for equities because implicit in the announcement is that rates are going to be low for a very long time," said Manish Singh, head of investment services at Crossbridge Capital.

Here's an overview of how the main asset classes reacted:

Stocks

Germany's markets reacted strongly overnight with Frankfurt DAX 30 shooting up through 10,000 points for the first time. It hit an all-time high of 10,013.69, before it ticked back down to 9,967.01, an overall increase of 0.4 percent on the day.  London's  FTSE closed down slightly. On Wall Street, the Dow and the S&P500 closed at fresh highs, the Dow rose 0.59 per cent to 16,836.11, while the S&P rose 0.65 per cent to finish at 4296.23.

Currencies

The Aussie dollar moved half a cent on the back of the announcement to be trading at US93.39c at 7.30 am Friday morning. The Aussie also gained against the single currency and was recently fetching 68.33 euro cents. The euro dropped off the back of the announcement before springing back to $US1.3665, or above where it had started the day.

Bonds

The yield on 10 year German Bunds initially dropped, before rising to its level highest in a month. However, after ECB chief Mario Draghi said in the press conference that quantitative easing is the next step yields dropped back again and ended around the day's low of 1.404 per cent. US Treasuries yield also briefly spiked to 2.64 before tailing off again and ending flat.

Gold

Gold rose 0.8 per cent, or $US9.65, to $US1253 an ounce, posting its biggest gain in three weeks. Gold tends to benefit from looser monetary policy and low interest rates.