Australia’s stock benchmark steadily climbed out of a hole, ticking into positive territory ahead of the close.
The S&P/ASX 200 finished down 0.7 point at 6238.3 after having fallen as much as 0.7% in early action amid overnight declines in the Americas and Europe and the fresh swoon in commodities prices.
But risk sentiment improved across Asia Pacific as fresh U.S.-China trade talks apparently loom. Health care and consumer staples each rose 0.7% to set more record highs and financials gained 0.3%.
But the energy sector fell 1.5% and materials lost 1.7%.
U.S. stocks soared Thursday, putting the Dow Jones Industrial Average on course for its biggest one-day gain in four months, as upbeat earnings reports and stabilizing commodities prices helped dim investors’ fears about the global economy.
Stocks around the world had slumped just a day earlier as fears about an economic crisis in Turkey spread through a variety of markets, pulling everything from copper to oil prices lower.
Gold futures settled with a modest loss to mark another roughly 1 1/2-year low as the U.S. dollar looked set to end the week higher.
The buck, which has gained about 0.4% week to date-making gold more expensive to investors using another currency-remains near a roughly 14-month peak.
IRON ORE: $66.78 -0.12 (September contract)
Oil futures stuck to a tight trading range, attempting to stabilize a day after a surprise rise in U.S. crude inventories and a broader commodity rout took the U.S. benchmark to a more-than-two-month low.
The U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery, was up 2 cents at $65.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with a little more than a dollar between the intraday high and low of the session. October Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 15 cents, or 0.2%, to $70.91 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
Emerging market currencies rebounded against the dollar intraday, as investors cheered signs of progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China.
The dollar was recently down 0.5% against the Mexican peso and lost 0.7% against the Korean won, while also slipping against a broad range of other emerging market currencies.
Officials in China and the U.S. signaled that the two countries would hold lower-level talks on trade later in August. The discussions would be the first since May, when talks fell through and both sides later slapped penalties on tens of billions of dollars in each other’s goods.
The dollar lost 2.5% against the Turkish lira, after Qatar said it would inject $15 billion into Turkey with a package that includes direct investments and deposits. The rally put Turkey’s currency on track for its third straight day of gains after Monday’s sharp decline.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index closed up 0.5% at 381.43 as the potential for a resurrection in trade talks between China and the U.S. boosted sentiment and lifted mining stocks.
A continued recovery in the Turkish lira also allowed investors to breathe a further sigh of relief.
Germany’s DAX rose 0.6%, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.8% and France’s CAC 40 was up 0.8%. Anglo American was the top gainer among miners, up 2.4%, while upbeat first half earnings lifted Danish brewer Carlsberg by 3.5%. Spain’s Ibex 35 ended up 0.4%.
It was a down day for Asian stocks, but not nearly as bad as it looked in early trading.
A number of indexes had logged declines of more than 1%, but by the close, the biggest decline was 0.99% for both of Shenzhen’s smaller-cap indexes in China. Many benchmarks in the region fell about 0.5%, though Japan barely declined, while Thailand was a tick higher following the large Wednesday declines in the Americas and Europe.
The Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 1.1% lower.
The moves came as trade tensions between the U.S. and China appeared to ease slightly after the two countries said they would hold lower-level talks later in August. The discussions would be the first since May when talks fell through and both countries imposed tariffs on the other’s goods in the following weeks.
Declines in technology companies Tencent and Samsung helped drive the MSCI Emerging Markets Index near bear market territory, typically defined as a 20% drop from a recent peak.
Shares in Tencent were down 3.8% a day after the company posted a decline in profit and unexpectedly weak quarterly sales. Samsung stock fell 2%. The two companies make up roughly 8.6% of the MSCI index.