OIL bounced from 18-month lows and US stock index futures pointed to a higher opening on Friday as investors looked to possible crisis resolution at upcoming meetings of European leaders rather than at weak data.
European stocks were down 0,4% after German business sentiment fell for a second straight month in June to its lowest level in more than two years, according to the Ifo think-tank, adding to poor economic numbers this week from the US, China and Europe.
But investors were looking to avoid hefty sales before a meeting of leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Spain in Rome later on Friday and a full European Union summit next week.
US stock index futures rose 0,4%-0,5%, recovering after US stock markets lost 2% on Thursday on anaemic US factory growth in June.
Brent crude briefly traded at its lowest in 18 months before rebounding above $90 a barrel.
"It has been a long fall, driven by global economic slowdown and oil fundamentals such as weaker demand from China," said Tony Machacek, oil futures broker at Jefferies Bache.
"Technical indicators show the market is a little bit oversold, so there could be some short-covering around."
Brent has fallen more than 8% this week, and is heading for its biggest weekly drop in a year.
Ratings agency Moody's issued a long-expected downgrade to the credit ratings of 15 of the world's biggest banks late on Thursday.
But Morgan Stanley, one of the most closely watched firms in the review, had its long-term debt rating lowered by just two notches, one level less than had been expected, sending its stock up sharply in after-hours trading.
Bund futures fell 33 ticks, reversing earlier gains before the Rome meeting.
The European leaders will search for ways to achieve fiscal and banking union in the euro zone and, more urgently, the meeting may also be the occasion for Spain to formally request assistance of up to ?100bn for its struggling banks.
Spanish stocks rose 1,34% after independent audits presented on Thursday showed Spain's banks will need up to ?62bn in capital requirements under stressed economic conditions, well below the ?100bn bail-out ceiling.
Spanish and Italian 10-year bond yields rose but are not as high as earlier in the week, when Spanish yields climbed above the 7% level considered unsustainable.
The dollar steadied after hitting its highest in over a week against the euro and a basket of major currencies, and a five-week high against the yen, benefiting earlier in the day from safe-haven flows and concern about further easing by the Bank of Japan.