Asian stocks hit a seven-week high and European shares rose for a fourth straight session Wednesday, as an uptick in oil prices pushed energy shares higher. Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures hinted at a positive open for American indexes.
Oil prices rose Wednesday after a new U.S. forecast predicted tighter oil supplies next year. News that Russia and Saudi Arabia had discussed the oil market last week triggered speculation of a possible cooperation to reduce the global oil supply glut, and helped move prices up.
“Oil is like a coiled spring -- it was under excessive pressure for so long, now that’s being released,” Eugen Weinberg, head of commodities research at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, told Bloomberg. “Risk appetite is increasing across markets, which were overly bearish before."
Across Asia, energy shares closed higher, supporting broader markets. In Australia, Woodside Petroleum Limited climbed 6 percent and Origin Energy Ltd jumped 25.41 percent, pushing the benchmark S&P ASX 200 up 0.6 percent. In Japan, oil exporter Inpex Corporation gained 7 percent, and the Nikkei 225 index -- which fell over 0.7 percent after the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged -- closed up 0.8 percent.
India’s S&P BSE Sensex closed up 0.4 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 3.1 percent, and in South Korea, where investor sentiment was buoyed by better-than-expected profits reported by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the Kospi Composite Index ended the day up 0.8 percent.
Chinese markets remained closed until Thursday for a government holiday.
Global crude benchmark Brent returned to above $50 a barrel, and was last trading at $52.60 -- its highest level since late August. Expectations of production cuts in the U.S. and across the world also pushed the U.S. benchmark oil price to $48.53 a barrel Tuesday -- a gain of nearly 5 percent.
In Europe, pushed by miners and energy companies, the STOXX 600 jumped 1 percent before paring its gains and trading up 0.4 percent. The European mining index reportedly surged 4.4 percent, while the energy index gained 2.5 percent. London’s FTSE 100 traded up 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX was up 0.8 percent, and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5 percent during Wednesday’s afternoon trade.
U.S. stock futures also pointed to a higher open Wednesday. S&P 500 and Dow futures were up 0.46 percent, while Nasdaq futures rose 0.63 percent.