Oil prices rebounded strongly after Chinese markets stabilized, with Brent crude futures up by 70 cents, or 2.12% to $34.41 a barrel, away from a 12-year low at $32.16. U.S. West Texas Intermediary (WTI) crude futures drove up 64 cents, or 1.91% to $33.91 a barrel, putting a relatively safe distance from another low at $32.10. Oil prices were hammered at the start of the week after tensions flared between Iran and Saudi Arabia, which destroyed any hopes of an agreement between OPEC members to lower production at the group's next meting in June.
China's Shanghai shares jumped more than 3.0%, after a hammering of 7.0% yesterday and on Monday. The Chinese rebound helped South Korea's KOSPI index to rise 0.70%, and India's Nifty to gain 0.30%. Other Asian markets weren't impressed however, with Japan's Nikkei down by 0.40%, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index faltering a similar 0.40%.
Wall Street closed with heavy losses on Thursday, with Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes recording their biggest four-day losses at the start of the year ever. Dow lost 392 points yesterday, or 2.32% to 16,514, down 5.2% so far this year. S&P 500 tumbled 47 points, or 2.37% to 1,943, down 4.9% so far this year. NASDAQ gave up 146 points, or 3.03% to 4,689.
Dollar recovered some of its considerable losses that were slapped at it yesterday, with its index up 0.40% for the day at 98.68. Dollar advanced 0.47% agaisnt the euro to 1.0881. It gained 0.55% agaisnt the unruly yen to trade at 118.32, after hitting a 4-1/2 month low yesterday at 117.33. Dollar was flat against sterling at 1.4619, not far from a 5-1/2 year peak hit yesterday at 1.4529.
Investors await a bunch of crucial U.S. data today, most importantly, the Non-Farm Unemployment Change for December, forecast to rise a robust 200K, added to November's 211K, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain low at 5.0%, which would be fantastic news for the economy and the dollar.