World markets are ending their last full week of 2014 on a high, as Wall Street made its biggest two-day advance since late 2011 and European shares headed for their strongest week of the year.
The ruble weakened against the dollar and euro on Thursday with traders saying President Vladimir Putin had so far offered no concrete measures to pull Russia out of a crisis at his end-of-year news conference.
Asian share markets rallied on Thursday after U.S. stocks enjoyed their strongest session this year when the Federal Reserve sounded upbeat on the economy and promised to be patient in removing policy stimulus.
The S&P 500 scored its best day since October 2013 on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve gave an upbeat assessment of the economy and said it would take a patient approach toward lifting interest rates.
U.S. stocks fell for a third day in a volatile session Tuesday, led by declines in consumer discretionary and technology shares, while another drop in the Russian rouble added to worries about the global economy.
Sliding oil prices and a downbeat China factory survey weighed on Asian shares on Tuesday, while the ruble jumped against the dollar after Russia sharply increased its benchmark interest rate in a bid to halt a collapse in its currency.
Chinese financial firms are targeting purchases of distressed banking assets coming on the market in Europe, having been urged by Beijing to expand their reach beyond emerging markets.
The S&P 500 ended nearly flat on Tuesday as concerns about global weakness and political turmoil were offset by gains in technology and energy shares.
U.S. stocks dipped on Monday, after soft data in China and Japan raised global growth concerns, while a further drop in oil prices weighed on energy shares.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) (FCHA.MI) (FCAU.N) began meeting U.S. investors on Friday after launching a $2.5 billion convertible bond issue and a share sale to reduce its debt pile and fund an ambitious investment plan.
Russia hopes to place shares of shipping company Sovkomflot in New York as part of its privatization plans, a deputy minister of transport told reporters on Friday, a move which could face resistance due to confrontation with the West over Moscow's role in Ukraine.
U.S. stocks ended slightly lower on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi brushed off pressure for more immediate monetary policy action but said the issue would be addressed early next year.
Asian stocks rose on Thursday amid fresh signs of resilience in the U.S. economy, while the euro wallowed near two-year lows before a much-anticipated European Central Bank meeting that could open the door to more stimulus.
U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday, with both the Dow and S&P 500 ending at records, as data pointed to improving conditions in the U.S. services sector, boosting cyclical stocks.
Stock markets recovered from their latest bout of oil and growth-related trauma on Tuesday, helped by promises from U.S. policymakers and the head of the IMF that lower fuel costs would boost the world economy.
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