Investors pushed global stocks higher, emboldened by two closely watched, successful initial public offerings that signalled renewed appetite for risk.
Wall Street appeared set to open higher as well, with Dow Jones Industrial futures 0.3 per cent higher at 12,573 and S&P 500 futures gaining 0.4 per cent to 1,343.5.
London's FTSE 100 rose 1 per cent, Paris's CAC-40 gained 1.3 per cent and Frankfurt's DAX index advanced 1.3 per cent after Glencore International, the world's biggest commodity trader, made a strong trading debut. Glencore priced its record-breaking offering in the middle of its initial range of 530 pence. (You can read more about it here: Glencore IPO raises $10-billion)
The other stock offering that investors are watching is LinkedIn. The social networking company raised the expected price range of its IPO by 30 percent to $42 (U.S.) to $45 per share, and sold 7.84 million shares for $45 each. The company's shares are expected to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the symbol "LNKD". (You can read more about it here: LinkedIn IPO ‘a litmus test’ for social networkers )
Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 per cent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.3 per cent.
But the Nikkei 225 fell 0.4 per cent amid news that Japan's economy shrank in the first quarter, veering back into recession as factory production and consumer spending froze after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Real gross domestic product contracted at an annualized rate of 3.7 per cent.
Crude futures for June delivery were 55 cents higher at $100.65 a barrel, holding on to gains that emerged after data showed a drop in crude stockpiles in the United States.
The euro was hurt by warnings that the European central bank would be unable to accept Greece's government bonds as collateral -- potentially crippling Greek bonds -- in the event of a restructuring of its debt. The single currency eased 0.2 percent to $1.4225, erasing earlier gains.
The loonie rose to $1.0347 (U.S.). The U.S. dollar was steady against a basket of major currencies, after briefly scaling a three-week high around 81.84 yen.
Copper fell $15 to $9,050 a tonne, It had gained more than 3 percent on Wednesday, its biggest rise since March 17.
Gold futures dipped to $1,494.30 an ounce.