World stocks were higher Thursday amid myriad of woes on Japan’s earthquake-spawned nuclear crisis, Portugal’s unresolved political problems, and upheaval in Libya.
Most of Asian markets closed higher. South Korea's Kospi gained 1.2 percent to 2,036.78. The S&P/ASX 200 index in Australia added 1 percent to 4,699.60. Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.4 percent higher to 22,915.28.
In contrast, shares in mainland China fell due to fears that the People's Bank of China would keep tightening monetary policy.
According to Peng Yunliang, a Shanghai-based analyst, with the central bank’s tools to tighten monetary policy, the market will rebound little.
The Shenzhen Composite Index finished down to 1,299.53. The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.1 percent to 2,946.71.
The Nikkei 225 dropped 0.2 percent to 9,435.01. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami ranks as the most expensive natural disaster on record, with an estimate damage of $309 billion and over 18,000 fatalities.
The Fukushimi Dai-ichi nuclear plant has leaked radiation. Although a nuclear meltdown was avoided, there raised concerns on Japanese food from the region which was affected by radiation.
Many regions suffered from rolling electricity blackouts, so many Japanese companies would be affected.
In America, the S&P 500 futures added little to 1,292.80 and the Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.1 percent to 12,030.
In early European trading, the FTSE 100 index in Britain rose 0.3 percent to 5,811.67, the DAX in Germany was up 0.3 percent to 6,826.52, and the CAC-40 in France gained 0.2 percent to 3,923.90.
In Portugal, heavy debt risked political chaos amid feud over austerity plans. The country’s prime minister quit on Wednesday after opposition parties’ overwhelming rejection to his last-ditch round of austerity measures.
Oil prices surged above $106 a barrel Thursday in Asia amid violent protests in the Middle East and North America. Since February 14, the price has increased 24 percent.
Benchmark crude for May delivery rose 29 cents at $106.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude in London stood at $115.55 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.