TOKYO: Asian shares held firm and US stock futures edged higher in early trade on Friday as expectations of additional stimulus from the European Central Bank underpinned appetite for riskier assets, while the euro hovered near seven-month lows. Benchmark share indexes in Japan, South Korea and Australia all rose around 0.2 per cent, though the broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan was almost flat due to the dollar's strength. US stock futures rose 0.4 per cent to their highest level since Nov. 9 after a market holiday on Thursday for Thanksgiving Day.
NEW YORK: Brent oil futures rose about 1 per cent on Friday while US crude fell almost 1 per cent, struggling to stay above $40 a barrel, as worries about large stockpiles pressured its spot contract ahead of expiry. A firmer dollar added to the weight on oil as commodities denominated in the greenback became less affordable to users of other currencies such as the euro. Brent futures were up 40 cents at $44.58 a barrel by 11:49 a.m. EST (1649 GMT). US crude's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were down 22 cents at $40.32 per barrel.
Brent crude oil rose above US$110 per barrel on Tuesday, pulling its premium above U.S. light crude to the widest in six months, after news of a deterioration in relations between the United States and key OPEC oil producer Saudi Arabia.
A source close to Saudi policy said Riyadh would make a “major shift” in dealings with the United States in protest at Washington’s perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran.
Oil prices edged higher on Monday in light trading volumes, with gains capped by China's latest bid to cool down its booming economy, traders said.New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, added 14 cents to 74.27 dollars a barrel.Brent North Sea crude for March delivery rose by just five cents to 72.95 dollars a barrel at 1245 GMT.Trading activity was subdued amid holidays across much of Asia, including China, and in the United States.
Gold prices finished the week in the green for the first time in the past four weeks. Crude oil prices, on the other hand, recorded weekly losses following US airstrikes on Iraq. Once the situation in Iraq normalizes, crude supply is expected to increase and oil prices are tapering off.