Oil prices rose on fears that escalating violence in Egypt could affect the Suez Canal or spread across the Middle East, where supplies already face disruptions.
European shares closed sharply lower on Thursday after two different U.S. economic reports were released and as U.S. indexes saw their biggest one-day drops since June.
U.S. stock index futures added to their losses across the board Thursday following a mixed batch of economic reports and as investors continued to gauge when the Federal Reserve might start to reduce its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.
Japan's benchmark index dropped over 2 percent on Thursday while the tone in the rest of Asian stocks was subdued as traders try to gauge when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start tapering its stimulus program.
The euro was little changed against the dollar on Wednesday after data showed the euro zone had emerged in the second quarter from its longest recession to date.
Stocks slumped on Wednesday as the market continued to gauge when the Federal Reserve might start to reduce its bond purchases. Apple was a standout as some big investors took stakes in the smartphone maker.
Crude prices staged a late day rally amid concerns over Middle East supply disruptions and a reduction in U.S. oil stockpiles, which provided support.
Gold settled 1 percent higher on Wednesday, as broad gains in the commodities complex and signs of simmering inflation lifted bullion after the previous day's drop.
U.S. stock index futures signaled a narrowly higher open on Wednesday, as shares in Europe traded mixed after Tuesday's robust data from the U.S.
Asian equity markets ended mixed in thin trade on Wednesday after strong global economic data triggered fears of an early end to U.S. stimulus.
The dollar climbed to a one-week high against both the euro and the yen on Tuesday after a key gauge of U.S. consumer spending rose at its fastest pace in seven months.
Stocks finished higher Tuesday, rebounding after Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart downplayed the notion that the central bank would begin winding down its bond-buying program at its September meeting.
Treasurys yields approached two-year highs after data in Europe showed that the region's economy is picking up steam, while U.S. retail sales data was also firm.
Gold fell 1 percent on Tuesday, weighed down by better U.S. consumer spending data and after top market India hiked its import duty on gold to a record 10 percent.
U.S. oil ended higher on Tuesday after exports from Libya fell to their lowest in two years, heightening supply worries.
CNBC's Sharon Epperson reports the latest from the metals and mining as the markets close.
Gold is taking a step back from its best rally in a month. Mike Harris, Campbell and Company, takes a look at the technicals.
European shares closed higher on Tuesday following data for the euro zone which boosted hopes the currency bloc is heading out of recession and signs of a housing recovery in the U.K.
CNBC's Bob Pisani and Art Cashin, of UBS, discuss "good enough" retail sales and whether the Fed may go ahead with a taper. in September. "The Fed is going to taper, Bernanke wants to get the process started before he's gone, and that's going to be a headwind for the stock market," says Cashin.
Asian equity markets ended at session highs on Tuesday with Japan's benchmark index leading gains by 2.6 percent as the yen weakened on news of corporate tax cuts.
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