Asian shares were mixed on Friday morning after oil rose and Facebook Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. led U.S. stocks higher as investors awaited an update from the Bank of Japan at the end of a turbulent month for global financial markets.
Japan's Nikkei was little changed after opening down, South Korea's KOSPI was down 0.7 percent, Singapore's STI was up 0.6 percent and Australia's ASX 200 was little changed.
In the U.S. on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.9 percent. Facebook soared more than 15 percent after reporting a 52 percent jump in fourth-quarter revenue. Alphabet gained more than 4 percent.
"You had marquee names with pretty good earnings," said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana, as reported by Reuters. "I'd love to say we're onward and upward from here but I don't think things work that way."
The U.S. and global crude oil benchmarks rose more than 2 percent to $33.22 per barrel and $33.89 respectively, after Russia's oil minister said Saudi Arabia had proposed a 5 percent production cut to help boost prices, according to Reuters. They had actually climbed as much as 8 percent before some traders tempered bets on such a deal. Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil producer and Russia the biggest outside OPEC and their refusal to cut has been a main factor in oil's drop from more than $100 a barrel over a year ago. That has dragged shares of oil producing companies and the many industries that supply them, resulting in global stock declines since the start of the year. The economic slowdown in China, the world's biggest buyer of oil, metals and equipment, hasn't helped.
“Oil is going to dictate where markets go, but there’s still a lingering fear that there’s some great unknown out there with regard to China, said John Canally, the chief economic strategist at LPL Financial Corp. in Boston, as reported by Bloomberg.
Canally and other said stocks were also lifted by speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve, which raised interest rates in December for the first time since the global financial crisis, would hold off from another increase in March amid global economic and market concerns. The Bank of Japan will give an update on monetary policy on Friday morning in Asia, 10 p.m. EST.