Oil prices kept their strong rebound upwards after the build-up in some U.S. crude stocks places was less than expected, and after ECB president Mario Draghi calmed the markets by hinting at possible additional stimulus measures at the bank's next meeting in March.
Brent crude futures jumped a dollar, or 3.31% to trade at $30.57 a barrel, far away from a 2003 nadir hit previously at $27.10. U.S. crude futures held on to their premium over Brent, adding $1.17, or nearly four percent to $30.70 a barrel, away from their 12-year low at $26.19.
Asian shares rose sharply after a long series of tumbles, with Japan's Nikkei in particular soaring more than 6% to 16,984 after plumbing a 15-month trough on Thursday, buoyed by possible easing prospects in the future and a slip in the yen's value. Other markets had it far less strong, with China's Shanghai index edging up only half a percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 1.07%. South Korea's KOSPI index jumped about two percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng powered up also two percent.
Wall Street recorded gains at the end of the session, with Dow Jones adding 115 points, or 0.74% to trade at 15,882, Standard and Poor's rose 10 points, or 0.52% to 1,868. NASDAQ Composite however was almost flat, constraint by its reliance on the underperforming tech sector, closing at 4,472.
Dollar notched up gains as well, with its index, which measures its performance against a basket of peers, gaining 0.27% to trade at 99.42. Euro fell nearly 0.40% versus the greenback to 1.0836, close to a two-week low hit yesterday at 1.0777. Dollar was flat however against the recovering pound, moving around 1.4223. It rose a strong 0.30% against Japan's yen to 118.09.
Investors await a bunch of crucial data today, with Britain's retail sales expected to have dropped 0.3% m/m in December, compared to November's 1.7% jump. which would be negative for sterling in such a sensitive time in its trading.
From Canada, Core CPI is forecast to fall yet again in December by 0.3% m/m, same as November's, and not good news for the loonie which is struggling to inch away from 13-year lows.