LONDON: European stock markets rose Wednesday following strong global earnings that lifted Asian and Wall Street equities overnight.
Soaring profits at Google parent Alphabet and an upgraded earnings forecast by Sony helped lift sentiment ahead of monetary policy announcements Thursday from the European Central Bank and Bank of England.
Before then, all eyes will be on the OPEC+ oil cartel, which on Wednesday is expected to stick to its guns and increase output only modestly after the price of crude recently soared to multi-year highs.
"European (stocks) markets continue their February ascent, attempting to build on recent bullish momentum after January's rout," noted Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.
Oil prices steadied after recent strong gains as Russia-Ukraine tensions fanned supply worries, adding to expectations that a global economic recovery will spur further demand improvements.
As in January, analysts expect the 23 member nations forming OPEC+, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, to announce additional output.
"Anything other than a decision to raise output by a further 400,000 barrels per day would come as a big surprise," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
He added there was speculation "OPEC+ could opt to scale up its oil supply to a greater extent in response to the high prices and tight market".
Asian stock markets closed higher as investors become less worried about the Federal Reserve's plans to tighten monetary policy, while strong corporate results lifted optimism about the outlook.
And while there remains plenty of volatility and uncertainty on trading floors owing to geopolitical tensions and the Omicron spread, analysts remain upbeat for the year.
Asian equities trading remained thin owing to the Lunar New Year break.
Of the markets that opened Wednesday, Tokyo, Sydney, Wellington, Jakarta and Manila all gained more than one percent.
After a torrid January, world stock markets have enjoyed a strong start to February as investors hunt for bargains, according to analysts.
As well as Thursday's European updates on interest rates, traders await the pre-weekend release of US jobs data providing the latest snapshot of the world's biggest economy.
The dollar has come off the boil against main rivals after recent strong gains on expectations of aggressive Fed interest-rate hikes to combat soaring inflation.
Key figures around 1000 GMT
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.8 percent at 7,595.97 points
Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 15,729.85
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 7,146.70
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.8 percent at 4,257.81
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.7 percent at 27,533.60 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Closed for a holiday
Shanghai - Composite: Closed for a holiday
New York - Dow: UP 0.8 percent at 35,405.24 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1296 from $1.1269 late Tuesday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3543 from $1.3519
Euro/pound: UP at 83.42 pence from 83.33 pence
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 114.41 yen from 114.67 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.1 percent at $89.21 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $88.08 per barrel