BANGKOK — Asian stocks mostly inched higher Tuesday after gyrating markets on Wall Street and Europe ended with modest gains.
Oil prices rose to near $85 per barrel as traders scaled back expectations that Libyan oil would be quickly restored to world markets following the apparent downfall of Moammar Gadhafi. The dollar weakened against the euro but was higher against the yen.
Global stocks have been volatile in recent weeks as investors gyrated between fears of a double-dip recession in the U.S. and hopes that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will announce some kind of action to help the economy during an annual economics conference in Wyoming on Friday.
Japan's Nikkei 225 hovered near a five-month low, rising just 0.1 percent to 8,636.78 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.4 percent to 19,565.19. South Korea's Kospi jumped 2.6 percent to 1,755.50.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.7 percent at 4,152.50. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and mainland China were also higher. Malaysian stocks slipped.
On Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.3 percent to close at 10,854.65. The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,123.82. The Nasdaq rose 0.2 percent to 2,345.38.
Bernanke's speech could have a major impact on markets, as it did last year when he hinted that the Fed was about to embark on a second round of bond buying known as quantitative easing to support financial markets and the economy.
The buying program ended in June. Some investors hope that Bernanke will reinstate bond purchases because of recent evidence of a weakening U.S. economy that triggered a stock market sell-off in August.
Benchmark oil for September delivery was 39 cents higher at $84.85 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.86 to settle at $84.12 on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Monday.
The euro rose to $1.4381 from $1.4373 late Monday in New York. The dollar strengthened to 76.77 yen from 76.72 yen.