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U.S. crude oil futures settled lower Thursday but well off session lows, down 45 cents at $37.84 a barrel. Reuters, citing sources, said a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers is unlikely to happen on March 20, as Iran has yet to commit to an oil production freeze.
The weekly oil rig count due Friday afternoon could add support to the view that U.S. production continues to decline and help curb oversupply. The only major economic data on the schedule are February import prices, which are expected to show a slight decline.
China data expected overnight include reports on loan growth and money supply.
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"The last time, we saw a big jump in new loans. A lot of people will be (wanting to) see if that was a one-off or a renewed emphasis on growth," said Sameer Samana, senior global strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
He is also watching the Chinese yuan for signs of continued stabilization.
U.S. stocks traded in a wide range Thursday after the European Central Bank's stimulus announcements largely beat expectations, while ECB President Mario Draghi surprised markets by saying he didn't anticipate a need to reduce rates further.
"Rates will stay low, very low, for a long period of time and well past the horizon of our purchases," Draghi said at a press conference following the ECB's announcement. "From today's perspective and taking into account the support of our measures to growth and inflation, we don't anticipate that it will be necessary to reduce rates further. Of course, new facts can change the situation and the outlook."
Among several measures announced Thursday, the ECB cut the deposit rate to negative 0.4 percent from minus 0.3 percent, and lowered the refinancing rate 5 basis points to 0.0 percent. The central bank also increased its asset purchase program from 60 billion euros to 80 billion euros a month.
"It seems like there's a lot of confusion out there," Veru said, adding that Wall Street will be searching in the next few days for more clarity on the actual impact of the ECB policy measures.
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The euro climbed to nearly a one-month high against the dollar in its biggest positive reversal, according to Bespoke. The euro was a touch off session highs at $1.118 in late trade Thursday.
"I think the reversal is not grounded in fundamentals," said Thierry Albert Wizman, global interest rates and currencies strategist at Macquarie.