Oil headed for its biggest five-day rally in six years as Saudi Arabia and its allies started bombing targets in Yemen. Asian shares dropped the most in eight weeks, led by technology companies after the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled in the U.S.
U.S. oil jumped 4.9 percent by 11:39 a.m. in Tokyo, taking its gain since March 19 to almost 18 percent, the most since February 2009, while Brent approached $60 a barrel. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank 1 percent as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. tumbled. Japan’s Topix gauge fell the most since Jan. 6, while U.S. index futures were little changed. The dollar gained 0.3 percent versus the New Zealand and Malaysian currencies.
Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Shiite rebels in Yemen marks an escalation in tensions with Iran, which the world’s largest oil exporter blames for fomenting trouble in its southern neighbor. Technology shares drove a 1.5 percent slump in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index Wednesday as investors sold 2015’s best-performing equities. German consumer confidence and U.K. retail sales reports are due, while investors await U.S. jobless claims data after an unexpected drop in durable goods orders.
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