The fall in oil prices has been a major driver of financial markets
this year, hammering energy companies, lowering inflation
expectations and reinforcing bets on loose monetary policy in Europe
and a slow tightening in the United States.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 21 cents at
$37.02 per barrel, following a more than 3 percent fall on Monday.
Brent, the international benchmark, was at $36.82 per barrel, up 20
cents but still less than a dollar away from an 11-year low hit
earlier in December.
This lifted shares in Europe, where the pan-European FTSEurofirst
300 index rose 0.9 percent while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro
STOXX 50 index advanced 1.3 percent.
"Brent crude is slightly higher, and if it can drag itself across
the $37 per barrel mark it is struggling with, then European stock
markets may be able to hold on to some gains," said Spreadex analyst
Britain's blue-chip FTSE 100 index, opening for the first time since
the Christmas break, rose 0.4 percent. It underperformed its
European peers due to a fall in major mining stocks, which account
for around 5 percent of the FTSE's market capitalization.
Their poor performance came as London copper dipped for a second day
and aluminum shed 1 percent on concerns about demand from top
Deutsche Bank rose 1.6 percent following its move to sell its 20
percent stake in China's Hua Xia Bank to insurer PICC Property and
Casualty Co for up to 25.7 billion yuan ($4 billion).
German 10-year Bund yields, the benchmark for euro zone borrowing
costs, rose 2 basis points to 0.58 percent and most other bond
yields in the single currency region were up 1-3 basis points.
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Spanish bond yields nudged down as differences between political
parties made an anti-austerity leftist coalition look increasingly
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up
0.1 percent. But it remained on track to mark a loss of around 12
percent for 2015, a year that saw it log a more than seven-year high
China's blue-chip CSI300 index added 0.9 percent, while the Shanghai
Composite Index closed up a similar amount, as the central bank
vowed to maintain reasonable credit growth and keep the yuan stable.
China's yuan fell to 6.5800 against the dollar in offshore trading,
its weakest since a hefty devaluation in August, mirroring a fall in
onshore rates, with traders citing strong year-end dollar demand.
The euro nudged up 0.1 percent to $1.0980.
(Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta in London and Lisa
Twaronite and Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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