• search


Written by: Staff

SINGAPORE, May 5 (Reuters) Oil prices rebounded on Friday after their fall helped drive U.S. shares to a fresh six-year closing high and Asian stocks were mostly firmer even though major markets were closed for holidays.

U.S. crude futures rose to above $70 a barrel, as buyers cautiously returned to the market after a two-day slump wiped $5 off prices. Gold hit a new 25-year high on persistent fund buying sparked by a weak dollar and tension over Iran's nuclear plans.

The U.S. dollar recovered from a one-year trough against the euro and clawed higher against the yen and sterling as traders worried that strength in U.S. jobs data could reverse the dollar's three-week sell-off.

Stock markets in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were shut on Friday, but Taiwan shares rose to a fresh 5-1/2-year intraday high, led by financial stocks such as Chang Hwa Bank.

Australian shares were also higher due to gains in miners such as BHP Billiton on the back to firmer copper prices, which soared nearly 8 percent on Thursday.

''Copper and gold prices were firmer overnight and that is supporting the resources sector,'' said Guy Hutchings, chief investment officer with Tower Australia, who helps manage about A$1 billion ($770 million) in local shares.

On Friday, copper prices were steady at $7,675 a tonne on Friday.

Macquarie Bank Ltd. rose nearly 2 percent after it said it was setting up a consortium to make a cash bid for Australia's biggest ports operator, Patrick Corp. Ltd., challenging an agreed A$6 billion ($4.6 billion) offer by Toll Holdings Ltd., the country's largest logistics company.

Shares of Patrick Corp. were up more than 3 percent.

The key Australian index was up more than 1 percent.

But New Zealand stocks took another beating after Telecom Corp.

of New Zealand Ltd. fell to a three-year low following a 19 percent drop in its third-quarter earnings.

The Telecom stock had tumbled 8.8 percent on Thursday.

Singapore's Strait Times index was 0.26 percent lower.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.34 percent, ending the day not far from their record set at the height of the Internet boom, an the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.87 percent.

OIL REBOUNDS, GOLD AT NEW HIGHS U.S. light crude for June delivery climbed 52 cents to $70.46 a barrel in electronic trade, hoping to halt a two-day plunge that cut prices by more than 6 percent.

Prices are almost $5 below their record high touched two weeks ago but are up more than 15 percent since the start of the year.

Gold hit a new 25-year high of $679.70 an ounce before retreating to $676.50/678.00, hardly changed from $676.90/677.90 late in New York on Thursday.

The metal is seen as technically overbought but a weak dollar would underpin the metal, which targets the next big level of $700 an ounce -- last seen in September 1980.

The euro was around $1.2695 after hitting a high of $1.2723 in New York on Thursday after ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet emphasised the central bank's vigilance on inflation.

Against the Japanese yen, the dollar was last at around 113.70 yen, after finishing at 113.61 in New York.

Traders saw an outside chance of a dollar bounce should U.S.

payrolls figures later on Friday handily beat forecasts of a 200,000 employment rise and a 4.7 percent jobless rate.

''One has to question whether the market will react to anything other than a dollar-negative number,'' said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at RBS Greenwich Capital.

''After all, the dollar has all but ignored very positive U.S.

real economy numbers for the past fortnight, in notable contrast to the bond market.'' REUTERS CS ND0922

For Daily Alerts
Get Instant News Updates
Notification Settings X
Time Settings
Clear Notification X
Do you want to clear all the notifications from your inbox?
Settings X
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Oneindia sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Oneindia website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more