Asian stocks surged Thursday for the second day straight, buoyed by a rally on Wall Street and Singapore's unexpected easing of monetary policy while Europe’s major bourses opened lower in a choppy session as investor sentiment tracked a slip in crude oil prices.
In its monthly report released Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries warned that global demand could slow ahead of a closely watched meeting on April 17 between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha, Qatar, which is aimed at freezing current output levels.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rallied as much as 3.23 percent, while India’s S&P BSE Sensex was up 1.91 percent Thursday. Following an uptick in China's trade, the Shanghai Composite index closed 0.5 percent up while the Nasdaq-style ChiNext index gained 1.32 percent.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.90 percent while South Korea’s Kospi index was up 1.75 percent. Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.81 percent while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.81 percent higher.
Europe’s stocks mostly edged below the flat line after registering gains on Wednesday, with France’s CAC 40 down 0.10 percent and London’s FTSE 100 index down 0.08 percent. Germany’s DAX bucked the trend, rising 0.17 percent in morning trade Thursday.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.02 percent.
The price of a barrel of the international oil benchmark, Brent crude, fell 0.38 percent to $44.01, while the price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate slipped 0.26 percent to $41.65 a barrel.
In the U.S., stock futures were marginally down, with S&P 500 lower by 0.06 percent while the Nasdaq futures and the Dow Jones futures both fell 0.10 percent.