Wall Street rose overnight, stemming a three-day slide, as the latest exports data from China and Germany surpassed expectations, bolstering optimism about the economic recovery.
China's exports climbed 5.1 per cent in July from a year ago, well above the 2 per cent increase predicted in a Bloomberg News survey and also comfortably above the 3 per cent forecast in a Reuters poll. It is a welcome sign of strength in the world's second-largest economy.
That was good news for commodities too, boosting prices of copper, platinum, gold and silver.
"China is stabilising and growing," Stephen Wood, the New York-based chief market strategist who helps oversee about US$237 billion at Russell Investments, told Bloomberg News. "Some of the data are confirming that softer landing."
The latest US economic data were encouraging too, as weekly jobless claims rose less than expected to 333,000 last week.
Separately, American retailers offered further reasons for cautious optimism.
Ten of the 11 retailers that still release monthly sales figures for stores open at least a year reported a combined 4.2 per cent gain, compared with the 4.4 per cent increase analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters.
In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.27 per cent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.48 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.52 per cent. Gains in shares of Microsoft, last up 2.4 per cent, and Caterpillar, last up 2.3 per cent, propelled the Dow higher.
Better-than-expected earnings helped too. Shares of Tesla Motors soared, last up 14.6 per cent, after the maker of electric cars reported a surprise quarterly profit yesterday.
Also benefitting from a solid earnings report card was Groupon, boosting its shares 22.7 per cent.
In Europe, equities advanced too. The UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.28 per cent, France's CAC 40 gained 0.6 per cent, while Germany's DAX added 0.7 per cent.
Here earnings of Deutsche Telecom and Commerzbank beat expectations, helping to bolster their respective shares and overall sentiment.
So far in Europe's earnings season, 56 per cent of STOXX Europe 600 firms have met or beaten profit forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
More good news from Germany, Europe's largest economy, came in the form of export data.
German exports rose 0.6 per cent in June, after declining a revised 2 per cent in May which was less than originally estimated.
"Against the background of a gradually recovering euro area, German trade is expected to gain impetus in the summer months," Stefan Kipar, an economist at BayernLB in Munich, told Bloomberg News