Asian stocks advanced, following U.S. stocks higher on better-than-estimated retail sales in the world’s biggest economy. Oil in New York extended declines below $60 a barrel and the dollar strengthened.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.6 percent by 11:10 a.m. in Tokyo, paring the biggest weekly decline since Oct. 17 as Japanese shares gained before elections this weekend. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures slipped 0.2 percent. West Texas Intermediate crude slumped 1.4 percent to $59.08. The dollar gained against most peers, with the yen weakening 0.2 percent and Norway’s krone falling to an 11-year low.
Oil’s collapse into a bear market has been exacerbated as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, OPEC’s three largest members, offered the deepest discounts on exports to Asia in at least six years. While that’s hurting producers and fueling deflation fears for some central banks, it’s leaving more money in the pockets of U.S. consumers as hiring picks up. Investors are scrutinizing economic data before the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week to help determine the timing of any increase in interest rates. China reports on industrial production today.
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