A recovery in oil prices was helping drive gains in Asia on Tuesday as the U.S. benchmark added $1.79, or nearly 9%, to $22.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It climbed 61 cents on Monday to $20.39.
Brent crude, the standard for international pricing, picked up $1.58 to $28.78 per barrel. “The feeling on the floor is that energy is in a better spot, and while it’s not brilliant, the supply/demand equation is starting to shift in a more positive direction," Chris Weston of Pepperstone said in a report.
Oil prices had collapsed as demand plummeted amid business shutdowns and travel restrictions due to the pandemic. A price war between Russia and other oil producers further roiled the market. At one point, U.S. benchmark crude was priced so low that producers would have been paying customers to take the oil away.
The glut of oil threatened to exceed storage capacity. But the lifting of lockdowns and other restrictions to contain outbreaks of the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, at least in some places, has raised hopes for at least some recovery in demand.
Weston noted that interest was shifting to July futures for U.S. crude. The current benchmark is for June delivery. “Brent crude is also having a better time of it and the $30-level is a clear target," he said.
In share trading, Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1% to 23,839.21, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia climbed 1.6% to 5,407.10. India's Sensex bounced back from a plunge on Monday to gain 0.3% to 31,815.82. Singapore's benchmark jumped 0.7%, while Bangkok's fell 1.4%.
“With Japan, China and South Korea away and no headlines of note, passively following Wall Street’s late rebound is the path of least resistance," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. This is another busy week for markets, with a slew of corporate earnings reports due, including more than 150 companies in the S&P 500. On Friday, the government will also show how many jobs were lost during April.
Overnight, the S&P 500 ended 0.4% higher, at 2,842.74, after erasing an early loss of 1.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial average edged 0.1% higher to 23,749.76. The Nasdaq composite, which is loaded with technology stocks, rose 1.2% to 8,710.71.
Microsoft climbed 2.4%. Airline stocks sank after famed investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway disclosed that it sold all its stakes in American Airlines Group, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines. Buffett is one of the stock market’s most famous bargain hunters, and investors around the world parse every clue he gives about investing. Over the weekend, he said he’d made a mistake in how he valued airlines.
American Airlines fell 10.6% for the largest loss in the S&P 500. United, Delta and Southwest all lost 7.4% or more. Also potentially weighing on markets was Buffett saying that he’s hanging onto his cash and hasn’t made any big deals recently because he hasn’t seen any on attractive terms.
In other trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 0.67% from 0.64% on Monday. It‘s still well below the 1.90% it yielded at the start of the year. Yields tend to fall when investors are downgrading their expectations for the economy and inflation.
The dollar was at 106.72 Japanese yen, down from 106.75 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.0904 from $1.0908.
AP Business Writers Stan Choe and Damian J. Troise contributed.