Exchange-traded funds tracking Asian markets were among the best performers of Thursday's session following a rally overnight.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2% and Japan's Nikkei 225 was 1.6% higher. Markets in China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Singapore finished higher as well.

The PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China ( PGJ) was gaining $1.42, or 4.1%, to $36.07. The iShares FTSE/Xinhau China 25 Index ( FXI) was rising $7.85, or 4.1%, to $200.19. The SPDR S&P China ( GXC) was up $3.70, or 3.7%, to $103.50. The SPDR S&P Emerging Asia Pacific ( GMF) added $2.40, or 2.6%, to $95.63.

The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ( XOP) jumped 5.3% after crude prices rallied through the $83-a-barrel level. The weekly inventory report from the Energy Department showed an unexpected decline of 1.7 million barrels in crude stocks, and oil was jumping $1.73 to $83.03 a barrel.

The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production was up $2.56 to $50.94. Among other energy related ETFs, the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Index ( OIL) rose 89 cents, or 1.9%, to $47.02. The United States Oil ( USO) ETF was adding $1.20, or 1.9%, to $63.60. The PowerShares DB Oil ( DBO) was gaining 52 cents, or 1.8%, to $30.02.

Bundled securities tracking the retail sector were gaining ground after Wal-Mart ( WMT) surprised with a rosier outlook. The world's largest retailer boosted its third-quarter profit guidance even after posting a comp sales increase of only 1.4%, a bit weaker than had been anticipated. The stock was up 3% to $46.95.

The SPDR S&P Retail ( XRT) was advancing 87 cents, or 2.2%, to $41.21. The Retail HOLDRs ( RTH) was up $1.34, or 1.3%, to $103.14. The PowerShares Dynamic Retail ( PMR) rose 16 cents, or 0.9%, to $18.64.

Among losers, the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare Provider ( IHF) sank 0.6% as several of its holdings lost ground. Express Scripts ( ESRX), Aetna ( AET) and Coventry Health Care ( CVH) all were sliding.

The ETF was down 38 cents to $59.68.