The safe-haven yen rose as investor risk aversion mounted following a sharp drop in crude oil and stocks.
Stocks dropped on Monday, with energy companies leading losses as the price of oil fell to its lowest since 2009.
Medium and longer-dated U.S. Treasury notes climbed on Monday, as U.S. stock index futures fell, pressured by the fall in oil prices.
European shares closed sharply lower on Monday as concerns over the health of the euro zone resurfaced and oil prices fell below a 2009 low.
U.S. stock index futures signaled a flat to higher open on Tuesday, as the price of oil continued its precipitous decline.
Gold rose one percent as global shares fell on concerns over the future of Greece in the euro zone and lower oil prices.
Asian stocks were mixed amid choppy trade on the first trading day of the week, as a raft of sluggish manufacturing surveys released across Europe and Asia over the past week curbed risk appetites.
U.S. crude and Brent futures dropped to fresh 5½-year lows on Monday as worries remain about a surplus of global supplies amid weak demand.
The euro fell to near a nine-year low, hit by concerns that Greek elections will result in a government that will aim to cancel austerity measures.
Stocks rose Friday, bouncing back after sharp losses the prior session.
Wall Street looked set for a weaker open on Monday, with U.S. stock futures tracking declines in Europe and pressured by the fall in oil prices.
Yields on U.S. Treasury bonds fell after manufacturing data for December and construction spending numbers for November came in below expectations.
European shares closed mixed after global manufacturing data disappointed.
The euro fell to its lowest in 4-1/2 years against the dollar on Friday after the head of the ECB fanned expectations of QE later this month.
Global benchmark Brent crude oil closed down nearly a dollar a barrel after a day of choppy trading, as strong mid-day rallies in crude fizzled.
On the first trading session of 2015, Asian equities were quiet on the back of a lack of foreign cues and economic data releases.
U.S. stocks closed lower in light volume trade, with the major indices erasing gains for December and the Dow below the benchmark 18,000 level.
Wall Street looked set to kick the new year off on a high, with U.S. stock index futures pointing to an upbeat start to the trading session.
U.S. Treasury bonds held steady on Wednesday after the jobless claims report, with markets set to close early ahead of the New Year holiday.
European shares finished higher on Wednesday on the last trading day of the year, averaging modest gains of around 4 percent across 2014.
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