Investors reacted to mixed economic data from the United States on Thursday.
U.S. consumer confidence fell more than expected in December, dropping to a four-month low, as the fiscal uncertainty pushed back against recent optimism about the economy.
Other data showed the number of Americans filing new jobless benefit claims fell last week to nearly the lowest level in 4-1/2 years, while new home sales last month hit their highest since April 2010.
Oil rose in early trading as Japanese stocks hit an 18-month high after the country's new prime minister said beating deflation and weakening the yen were his top priorities.
Japan's government will pursue bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and a growth strategy to encourage private investment, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
Concerns about potential supply disruptions in the Middle East remained supportive to oil prices and were reinforced after United Arab Emirates security forces arrested a cell of UAE and Saudi Arabian citizens that the UAE said was planning attacks in both countries and other states.
Also supporting prices were expectations that U.S. crude stockpiles decreased last week as refiners used up existing inventories for year-end tax advantages.
Crude stocks were expected to be down by 1.9 million barrels in the week to Dec. 21, a Reuters poll of analysts showed.
Inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute will be released on Thursday, while the U.S. Energy Information Administration's report will arrive on Friday. Both reports are delayed because of the Christmas holiday.