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[NEW YORK] Stock markets around the world were mostly higher on Thursday, lifted as crude oil resumed its recent rise, but investors digested the European Central Bank's surprise decision to strike Greek bonds off its list of accepted collateral.
While US equities rose on the day, with energy shares among the biggest gainers, the pan-European FTSEurofirst share index fell 0.4 per cent. The MSCI International ACWI Price Index rose 0.4 per cent.
The ECB move increases the pressure on Greece to put new reforms in place. Greek bank shares plunged over 20 per cent, and the country's short-term debt yields surged to almost 20 per cent. Both pared their losses, leaving bank stocks down just 7 per cent.
The euro tumbled overnight but recovered on Thursday, rising 0.7 per cent against the dollar. The common currency was helped by the strongest rise in German industrial orders since early 2008.
The US Dollar index dipped 0.1 per cent against a basket of currencies. The yen fell 0.2 per cent against the dollar.
US crude futures rose 3.1 per cent to US$49.93 per barrel, resuming its recent uptrend after falling in the previous session, and continuing to demonstrate the commodity's volatility. Oil has risen in five of the past six sessions, and in 2015 has only had four sessions with a move smaller than one per cent. Despite the recent rise, oil remains down more than 50 per cent from a high reached in June.
"It will be some time yet before we see any sustained trend reversal in oil prices," said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank. "There's no basis for a sustained recovery at the moment."
Wall Street was also boosted by encouraging jobless claims data, which came a day before Friday's non-farm payrolls figures.
"Employment continues to improve at a fairly moderate pace, which feels breakneck compared to the past, which means people are getting jobs and that is a big positive for the economy," said David Heidel, regional investment strategist at US Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.
"The problem is every time we get confirmation that the jobs picture is improving, it also sparks worries the Federal Reserve will act sooner (rather) than later to raise rates and continues this schizophrenic up and down," Mr Heidel said.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 117.49 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 17,790.51, the S&P 500 gained 13.81 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,055.32 and the Nasdaq Composite added 28.51 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 4,745.21.
The benchmark 10-year US Treasury note fell 3/32 in price, pushing the yield up 1.8084 per cent.
Gold prices fell 0.8 per cent. Silver lost 1.7 per cent and copper fell one per cent.