The withdrawal of some sanctions against Iran has helped it increase its oil exports to 1.2 million barrels per day.
A string of data from China, the US and Japan will be the focus of Japanese investors next week.
Historically, highly publicised safety problems eventually affect car brand sales, analysts say.
Start-up investments by venture capitalists totalled $US9.47 billion in the first three months of the year, the highest since the second quarter of 2001.
The US orange crop has been hit by a deadly bacteria, sending juice prices soaring in New York markets.
China says a fifth of its farmland is polluted, mainly from unchecked industrialisation, raising concerns about its food safety.
The share price of Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo has jumped in its US market debut, closing at $US20.24.
Tokyo stocks have closed up 0.68 per cent on the back of a weaker yen.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16.31 points (0.10 per cent) to 16,408.54 after several earnings reports met expectations.
At 55 years old, Barbie is sagging as sales in the iconic doll tumbled for the second straight quarter.
Social games pioneer Zynga is looking to tap into the portable market, releasing a new version of its hit game FarmVille for smartphones and tablets.
European stock markets had rallied as strong company earnings and well-received Chinese growth data offset jitters over the Ukraine crisis.
PepsiCo says its global snack volume grew by two per cent in the first quarter, while beverage volume remained at the same level as a year earlier.
US investment bank Goldman Sachs has reported first-quarter earnings of $US 2.03 billion, down 10 per cent form a year ago.
Moves in China to crack down on corruption are affecting sales of French brandy, with authorities bearing down on extravagant entertaining.
French energy company Total says its exploration off the coast of Ivory Coast has located a "very promising" oil discovery in deep water.
General Electric has reported a 15 per cent drop in net profits despite higher profits in its industrial sales division.
Ford plans to sell Lincoln cars in China later this year, when it opens eight dealerships that will feature waterfalls and custom scents for cars.
Profit-taking on Asian markets has competed with a positive report on the US economy and a pledge to keep US interest rates low for mixed results.
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal has produced a system to make and ship railway track up to 150 metres long - the longest produced in the world.
China will appeal a ruling by the World Trade Organisation that it broke intenational rules by placing export restrictions on rare earths.
Particpaitoin the jobs market by young people has fallen since the pace of employment growth slowed after the GFC.
German software giant SAP has confirmed its forecasts for the year after a solid first quarter.
Stocks of interest on the Australian Securities Exchange at the close on Thursday
Foreign direct investment in China in the first three months of the year rose 5.5 per cent, the government says.
New car sales remain healthy, driven by strong sales of sports utility vehicles.
Genesis Energy's debut at a premium to its listing price has helped buoy other energy companies on the NZX.
Flight Centre hopes to overturn a Federal Court decision to fine the travel agency $11 million for anti-competitive behaviour.
Ramelius Resources has reduced its cash costs and achieved a record quarterly result, but investors remain unimpressed.
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