Asian stocks rebounded from steep losses over the past several sessions on Wednesday, after tentative signs that European leaders are stepping up their efforts to stop the region's sovereign debt woes from sparking a full-blown banking crisis.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> rose 0.7 percent, after hitting a two-year low the day before. The Nikkei <.N225> was nearly flat, cautiously gauging the progress in Europe on tackling its debt problems. <.T>
European finance ministers agreed on Tuesday to safeguard their banks as doubts grew about whether a planned second bailout package for debt-laden Greece would go ahead.
A sense of urgency appeared to be heightening in Europe as French-Belgian municipal lender Dexia SA
Tensions remained, however, as Euro zone finance ministers postponed a crucial aid payment to Greece until mid-November, while European Union ministers said they were reviewing the size of private-sector involvement in a second bailout package for Athens.
News from Europe helped spark a late rally in U.S. stocks, which had been recovering after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promised more economic stimulus if needed, easing concerns over the damage to the U.S. economy from a possible Greek default.
Brent crude oil rose more than $2 on Wednesday, supported by a drawdown in U.S. crude stocks and Bernanke's comments, while a stronger euro against the dollar helped push gold up 1 percent.
Brent crude for November delivery surged to an intra-day high of $102.10 a barrel, up $2.31 in early Asian trading.
The most active U.S. gold futures contract jumped 1 percent to an intra-day high of $1,635 an ounce on Wednesday.
The euro struggled to push higher after jumping from a near nine-month trough against the dollar and climbing from a decade low versus the yen on Tuesday.
A slight retreat in risk aversion reduced appetite for safe haven government debt on Tuesday, with the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond falling 1-26/32 points in price for a yield of 2.807 percent.
(Editing by Alex Richardson)