Asian Equities Expected Lower

Asian markets appear set for another day of losses on Thursday, following a poor finish in the U.S. overnight, but a spike in oil futures could provide some reprieve.

U.S. crude oil surged late Wednesday, posting its biggest one-day percentage gain in more than two years on short covering ahead of options expiration. West Texas Intermediate crude for February settled at $48.48 a barrel, up 5.6 percent for the session. Brent crude rose $2.10 to settle at $46.38 a barrel.

Australia’s key S&P ASX 200 index dropped 0.4 percent to a one-week low in early trade, on the back of losses in the mining and banking sector. But the beaten-down energy sector got a rare lift from overnight gains in crude prices, thereby capping losses.


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