Asia stocks advanced on Friday after Wall Street ended volatile trade in positive territory, adding to the previous session’s big gains, although lingering investor jitters helped support safe-haven currencies such as the yen. The gains come a day after Wall Street indexes posted their biggest daily percentage increases in nearly a decade following a sharp plunge at the week’s start. However, all three U.S. major indexes remain down more than 9 percent for December following losses earlier in the month, when factors including concerns over the U.S.-China trade war, slowing global growth and wariness toward the Federal Reserve’s tightening cycle took a heavy toll. Focus turned to the Fed’s stance and whether the equity markets can sustain their recovery at the start of the new year. Fed Chairman Powell is due to give a speech on Jan. 4.
In currencies, the dollar extended overnight losses and was down 0.3 percent at 110.64 yen. It was on track to lose more than 2 percent this month. USDJPY extended overnight losses and was down 0.3 percent at 110.64 yen. It was on track to lose more than 2 percent this month. EURUSD was a shade higher at $1.1450 after gaining 0.7 percent overnight. The common currency was headed for a 1 percent gain in December.
In commodities Oil prices remained choppy, with U.S. crude futures up 2.2 percent at $45.60 per barrel after sliding 3.5 percent the previous day. US. crude had rallied 8 percent midweek after dropping to a 1-1/2-year low of $42.36 at the week’s start. Crude has lost more than one-third of its value since the beginning of October and is heading for declines of more than 20 percent in 2018.In addition to oversupply concerns, worries about slowing global economic growth have dampened investor demand for riskier asset classes and pressured crude. Brent crude climbed 1.8 percent to $53.11 per barrel after losing more than 4 percent the previous day. Spot gold, which has benefited this week from the global market turmoil was slightly higher at 1,278 an ounce following an ascent to a six-month high of 1,279.