Global stocks struck a triumphant note on Monday, rising solidly ahead of an event-packed trading week.
The wave of higher results began in Asia, where Tokyo's main stocks closed up more than one percent, followed by solid gains in Europe and even stronger advances in New York.
The gains helped take another bite out of the big losses suffered at the start of February, when fears of US inflation sparked a global selloff.
Those worries were eased somewhat on Friday when the US Federal Reserve, in its semi-annual report to Congress, tempered speculation that it could hike benchmark interest rates four times this year and said inflation remained subdued globally.
However, analysts still warn equity valuations remain elevated and
volatility could still return.
Tech stocks returned to pre-correction levels while Cisco and 3M both
gained more than three percent. This helped send the Dow Jones Industrial Average 1.6 percent higher while the broader S&P 500 added 1.2 percent.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index finished the day with a gain of 0.6
percent. In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 rose 0.4 percent and in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.5 percent.
- Showtime for Powell -
"The recovery in European equity markets is still being played out.
Investors are becoming more content to buy back into the market, and the memory of the sharp sell-off at the start of the month is continuing to fade," said market analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.
"Dealers are coming around to the idea that the positive market momentum is here to stay," he added.
Monday's positivity kicks off a busy week, with the release of key US data including figures on economic growth and inflation.
Also, new Fed boss Jerome Powell will speak before key congressional
committees on Tuesday and Thursday in his debut appearance. Markets will pore over his comments for clues about plans for monetary policy -- though many predict he will stick to the path of his predecessor Janet Yellen.
In foreign exchange, the dollar wobbled after climbing Friday on the back of the Fed comments.
Gains by the euro were being curbed by uncertainty ahead of weekend
elections in Italy, one of the eurozone's biggest economies.
Oil prices continued pushing higher following gains at the end of last week on a surprise drop in US stockpiles and as a key terminal in major producer Libya suffered disruption from protests.
Analysts said comments from Saudi Arabia that it would produce less than agreed output levels in the first three months of this year helped support prices.
- Key figures around 2000 GMT -
New York - DOW: UP 1.6 percent at 25,709.27
New York - S&P 500: UP 1.2 percent at 2,779.60
New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.2 percent at 7,421.46
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.6 percent at 7,289.58 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,527.04 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.5 percent at 5,344.26 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 3,463.18 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.2 percent at 22,153.63 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.74 percent at 31,498.60 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.2 percent at 3,329.57 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2317 from $1.2295
Pound/dollar: FLAT at $1.3968
Dollar/yen: UP at 106.93 yen from 106.83 yen
Oil - Brent North Sea: UP 19 cents at $67.50 per barrel
Oil - West Texas Intermediate: UP 36 cents at $63.91