Asian stocks opened mixed Thursday after the dollar dipped, helping give oil one of its biggest gains in five months.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent and Singapore's STI fell 1.1 percent. South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.8 percent and Australia's ASX 200 gained 1.2 percent.
In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1 percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.3 percent.
The U.S. crude oil benchmark surged $2.40 per barrel, 8 percent, to $32.28 per barrel while the global benchmark climbed $2.32 per barrel, 7 percent, to $35.04 per barrel. Some attributed that to so-called "short covering" after oil sank below $30, Reuters reported. To "short" is to sell a security — such as oil futures — that one doesn't have by betting that it will fall. To "cover" means to buy the security at a later date to cover the sale. Others attributed oil's gains to the Russian foreign minister saying that his country was open to meeting with other oil producers to address falling prices.
Higher oil prices help energy companies that have suffered amid oil's decline from over $100 a barrel in mid-2014, as well as the many industries that supply them.
Still, others attributed oil's rise to the dollar's decline after William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said "tighter" financial conditions would be a factor when the Federal Reserve's policy-making body meets in March. Some traders took that as a further sign that the Fed won't raise interest rates four times, as many expected this year. Low rates would make the dollar less attractive.
“Asian equities excluding Japan will likely be supported today and I suspect we should see follow-through buying after the open of the various markets. These are markets which require constant attention with prices reversing aggressively with ease, said Chris Weston, chief markets strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd., as reported by Bloomberg.