Asian stocks were mostly lower on Thursday, with caution setting in ahead of a central bank policy meeting in Europe.
As investors push equities and other risk assets to multi-year highs, one question being raised by analysts is whether or not upbeat markets are becoming too complacent.
Whether stocks can break out one way or the other has been the question of the week, and the drama is building.
The euro slipped, with traders taking more cautious positions ahead of the ECB meeting in case its president Mario Draghi expresses concern about the high level of the euro.
U.S. Treasurys prices rose on Wednesday as weaker U.S. and European stock prices and political tension in the euro zone boosted demand for safe-haven government debt.
Oil edged higher on Wednesday as Wall Street equities rebounded from early losses to trade flat, and Brent crude futures premium over West Texas Intermediate crude briefly above $20.00 a barrel.
Gold edged higher, recovering early losses, as stocks came under pressure from renewed concerns over the euro zone economy, and on caution ahead of a European Central Bank meeting later this week
Pro trader Rich Ilczyszyn looks at important technical indicators for the yellow metal.
Euro zone equities sank to two-month lows on Wednesday, with investors locking in profits on a half-year rally.
Stock inflows do not seem to be at the expense of fixed-income, bond dealer Bill Gross told CNBC.
Japan posted its biggest daily gain in nearly two years, moving up 3.8 percent to close at its highest level since October 2008.
Asian shares gained on Wednesday as solid euro zone data helped sentiment, while the prospect of a dovish new governor for the Bank of Japan sent the country's stocks surging.
Record high unemployment mean the European Central Bank has scope to lower interest rates in order to weaken the spiraling euro, ING Senior Economist Carsten Brzeski said.
The recent strength in the euro is reigniting concerns over the health of the euro zone, with analysts questioning whether too strong a currency could derail Europe's recovery by dampening export demand.
With volatility low and complacency high, traders are searching for the spark that could trigger a market pullback.
The euro rose against the dollar and yen Tuesday as better-than-expected euro zone data affirmed expectations that the European Central Bank will keep policy steady when it meets this week.
Oil prices resumed their three-week rally, boosted by positive economic data in Europe that reignited the upward momentum in stock markets.
Gold retreated from an initial rally as solid gains in U.S. equities and an improving economic outlook weighed on the metal's safe-haven appeal.
U.S. Treasurys prices fell on Tuesday as a rebound in Wall Street stocks and less gloomy data on European business activity cut the appetite for safe-haven government debt, pushing benchmark yields back above 2 percent.
European shares rose on Tuesday as signs of economic recovery in the euro zone helped soothe investors' worries a day after the return of political risks in Spain and Italy sparked a selloff in stocks.
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.
Asian shares dipped on Tuesday following losses on Wall Street after U.S. manufacturing activity hit a three-year low in November.
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