Asian stocks fell on Monday, dragged down by a slide of 3.7 percent in Shanghai following fresh property curbs. Japanese shares, however, briefly touched a fresh four-and-a-half year peak as comments from the government's nominee as the next Bank of Japan governor fueled hopes for aggressive monetary easing.
Chinese shares tumbled to their lowest close in six weeks, after Beijing hit property developers with harsher-than-expected tightening measures to contain housing costs.
U.S. Treasurys prices rose on Friday as Washington looked set to implement spending cuts that are likely to weigh on economic growth and as European data pointed to a worsening economy in the region.
Gold mired in negative territory as the dollar extended gains after positive economic data and ahead of impending U.S. budget cuts.
U.S. light, sweet crude and Brent crude futures ended lower as political gridlock in Washington triggered automatic U.S. budget cuts, feeding fear about the economy in the world's largest oil consumer.
The dollar rose to a six-month high against a basket of currencies, buoyed by gains against the euro on growing evidence the U.S. economy was showing signs of improving.
Asian markets were mixed on Friday, with Japan closing higher and Australia clawing back from session lows, while Chinese shares edged down on news that manufacturing activity in the mainland declined in February.
U.S. Treasurys rose on Friday, lifted by safe-haven buying on the eve of federal spending cuts that could curb U.S. economic growth.
Gold headed towards its longest run of monthly declines in more than 16 years, as an improved economic backdrop and lower inflation concerns continued to blunt its appeal to investors.
The price of oil fell, as investors sold off commodities with the stock market surging toward a record high.
Stalemate in the United States over automatic government spending cuts due to take effect March 1 and an inconclusive election in Italy undermined the euro on Thursday.
Asian stocks rallied on Thursday, with Japan's Nikkei leading gains as the Federal Reserve's steadfast support for an ultra-easy monetary policy and a successful bond auction in Italy lifted risk appetite in a volatile week for global markets.
Volatility calmed down Tuesday but brace yourself: Pros say bigger gyrations could be the norm for the next few weeks as investors watch what's going on in Washington and Europe.
U.S. stock index futures edged higher Wednesday following the durable goods orders report and ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's second round of testimony, but ongoing worries over political deadlock in Italy kept a lid on gains.
The commitment to a stimulative monetary policy reiterated by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke favored riskier assets over safe-haven U.S. debt, sending U.S. bond prices lower on Wednesday.
Gold fell 1 percent, nearly erasing all of the previous session's gains, hit by disappointment over a lack of new Federal Reserve stimulus and deflation worries over across-the-board deep U.S. spending cuts.
European shares extended gains in the afternoon session on Wednesday, helped by a successful bond auction in Italy and the U.S. Federal Reserve's defense of its asset purchases on Tuesday.
Europe is still a very attractive market despite the current political and economic risks, David Rubenstein, co-founder & managing director of the Carlyle Group, told CNBC on Wednesday.
Brent crude oil futures settled at $111.87 a barrel, as investors weighed expectations that the Federal Reserve's stimulus program will be maintained against the sixth straight weekly rise in U.S. crude oil stockpiles.
The euro rose against the dollar for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday on relief over solid demand for Italy's first bond sale since the country's general elections.
European shares were flat on Friday as talks over the "fiscal cliff" stalled.
European shares closed lower on Wednesday for a third consecutive session, with resurging worries about the global economic outlook undermining investor sentiment.
Standard & Poor's decision to cut Spain's credit rating to one notch above junk status is weighing on markets.