Asian stock markets continued their slump on Thursday but European shares clawed back ground as traders awaited data that they hoped would show a brighter employment
picture in the US.
Oil prices hovered below $83 a barrel, while the dollar slipped against the yen and the euro. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.9 per cent to 5,104 in early trade while Germany's DAX was 2.3 per cent higher at 5,745.
The CAC-40 in Paris rose 2.4 per cent to 3,077. Wall Street, pummeled after Standard and Poor's ratings agency stripped the US of its sterling AAA credit rating last week, appeared set to gain. Dow futures rose 1.1 per cent to 10,842 while S&P 500 futures were up 1.2 per cent up 1,137.20.
Asian markets wobbled throughout the day amid pessimism about the health of the world's major economies. But the falls in Asia were muted compared with the rout on Wall Street on Wednesday, which saw the Dow plummet 4.6 per cent. Japan's Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.6 per cent to close at 8,981.94 as a strengthening yen, which reduces the value of export earnings, clobbered Japan's crucial export sector.
Honda Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Corp each lost 3.5 per cent. Consumer electronics giants also slid Sony Corp by 2.2 per cent and Panasonic Corp by 1.7 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index stumbled 1.1 per cent to 19,558.78. South Korea's Kospi, vacillating in and out of negative territory, was up 0.6 per cent to 1,817.44. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up less than 0.1 percent at 4,203.50 after earlier dropping about 2 per cent. A few markets eked out gains including China's Shanghai Composite Index.