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Oil breaches $50 mark, lifts commodity stocks but Fed, China weigh

Brent crude oil on Thursday jumped to USD 50 a barrel for the first time in the last seven months.

Oil breaches $50 mark, lifts commodity stocks but Fed, China weigh

The increase in oil price lifted commodity and energy-related shares in Europe and Asia but the concerns over US interest rates and signs of slowdown in China affected the gains.

The rise of oil price took it to levels more than 80 percent above January's 12-year lows. The price rise is partly due to a weaker dollar, which fell against the Japanese yen.

European shares advanced, led by the basic resources and oil and gas sectors. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.2 percent, pushing on from a four-week high hit on Wednesday. The STOXX 600 basic resources index jumped .4 percent. Oil and gas added 0.8 percent.

The shares of energy firms outperformed in Asia but a slide in Chinese shares to 2 1/2-month lows after weaker-than-expected corporate profit data, meant Asian equities failed to build on positive momentum from Wall Street.

"Oil inventory data has been mixed over the last six months but much of this depends on how many believe that we are on the cusp of an increase in global demand and economic recovery," said Atif Latif, Director of Trading at Guardian Stockbrokers.

Japan's Nikkei went ahead 0.1 percent, giving up earlier gains as the yen firmed, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.2 percent, struggling to extend its rebound from Tuesday's 12-week low. Chinese shares fell over 1 percent at one point, with the CSI300 index touching its lowest since March 11.