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Oil up 2%, Asia markets mostly rise after U.S. investors appear to shrug off Russia-Ukraine concerns

SINGAPORE — Oil prices leaped 2% and Asia-Pacific shares mostly rose on Friday as investors assessed the Russia-Ukraine conflict following a massive comeback on Wall Street overnight.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 2.84% at $95.45 per barrel in Asia trade on Friday. The international benchmark Brent crude rose 2.85% to $101.90. Oil pared gains on Thursday after rising more than 8% on the news of Russia’s attack.

Spot gold, traditionally a safe haven in times of uncertainty, last traded at $1,913.90, up 0.57%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was up 1.5%, while the Topix gained 0.74% Friday. Elsewhere, in South Korea, the Kospi rose 0.93% and the Kosdaq added 2.17%.

The Shanghai composite in mainland China added 0.54%, and the Shenzhen component jumped 1.08%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index declined 0.14%.

The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.14%.

Block shares trading in Australia surged 32.92% after it reported better than expected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday stateside. The company’s main listing on the New York Stock Exchange also saw stock prices jump 18% after hours.

The payments firm, formerly called Square, is founded and led by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Earlier on Friday’s session in Asia, Block’s share price spiked more than 40%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.75% higher.

Sanctions on Russia

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday said Washington will seek to isolate Russia from the global economy by introducing new sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The White House has also authorized additional troops to be stationed in Germany, the president said.

The European Union also agreed to more sanctions on Russia, calling on the country to stop all military action and withdraw its forces.

Investors in the U.S. appeared to shake off Russia’s attack on Ukraine, with stocks mounting a stunning reversal to close higher after falling sharply earlier in the session.

The S&P 500 gained 1.5% after falling more than 2.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average erased a 859-point drop to advance 92.07 points. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite rose 3.3% after declining nearly 3.5% during trading hours.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.880, down from 97.137.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.22, while the Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7183.

Bitcoin was up 3.37% at $38,933.

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