New York: US stocks turned higher, looking to cap a three-day rally, as thin trading added to already-volatile markets ahead of the weekend. Treasuries rose.

The S&P 500 rose toward a session high in volumes 17% below the 30-day average at this time of day. Trading continued to be volatile after a roller-coaster session that saw the biggest reversal since 2010. The holiday-shortened week began with the worst pre-Christmas day on record before stocks notched the biggest one-day surge in almost a decade. The benchmark is on track for its worst year of the bull market.

“You’re in a period of high unknown right now," Jeremy Bryan, portfolio manager at Gradient Investments, said in an interview. “It’s the market trying to find bottoms and trying to find its footing. That’s why we’re seeing such volatile swings in this tape. It’s just right now there seems to be a lot more consternation, which is why you’re seeing markets reacting violently both ways."

The end-of-year rebound in stocks hasn’t damped appetite for risk assets, with gold, Treasuries and the yen all advancing. Global stocks are set for the worst year since 2008 and oil is mired in its steepest quarterly slump since 2014. Plenty of event risks loom in the coming year, from the UK vote on the Brexit deal to US-China trade talks to the continuing showdown between President Donald Trump and Congress over the budget.

“We’re heading into a period of higher volatility," said Manpreet Gill, head of fixed income, currency and commodities strategy at Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore. “You need to have some dry powder on the side to take advantage of that. That’s where we particularly think that cash plays a bit of a role."

In Europe, gains in insurance companies and builders put the Stoxx 600 on course for the largest one-day rally since April. Japanese shares declined, while stocks in China saw modest advances. Japanese 10-year yields dipped below zero. West Texas intermediate crude bounced with commodities and emerging market equities.

Japan and China had their final trading day of the year Friday. Aside from any further developments on the American political front -- where departures of senior officials and tensions at the White House over the Federal Reserve have unsettled investors, upcoming manufacturing PMIs from China and the US may be a focus in the coming week.

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