Another round of strong, forecast-beating earnings from companies such as Apple Inc. and DuPont Co. lifted global stocks to their highest level in 33 months, and commodities surged as the U.S. dollar dropped to a three-year low.
U.S. stock futures indicated a higher opening on Wall Street, with Dow Jones industrial futures up 60 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 12,456 and S&P 500 futures up 8 points, or 0.6 per cent, at 1,336.30. Nasdaq futures gained 1.04 per cent, or 24.50 points, to 2,379.50.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at a one-week high, with technology stocks leading gains after Apple smashed earnings forecasts and said it was struggling to meet demand for its iPad2 tablet. DuPont, the third-biggest U.S. chemical maker, raised its 2011 earnings forecast and also posted a first-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates.
Mining companies gained ground as the price of gold hit a new record of $1,507.19 (U.S.) an ounce and silver soared to a 31-year high of $45.93 an ounce.
The loonie rose as high as $1.057 (U.S.). With little chance of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates any time soon, the dollar index fell 0.85 percent to 73.737, its lowest level since August 2008.
Crude oil was up 71 cents at $112.16 a barrel after U.S. crude inventories fell unexpectedly last week. It was the first draw-down since the week to Feb. 25.
The MSCI All-Country World Index advanced almost 0.7 percent to a high of 350.34, last seen in July 2008. The index has risen around 6 percent so far this year.
Asian stocks recovered sharply from a stumble earlier in the week and rose to their highest level since January 2008. Japan's Nikkei 225 index was up 1.1 per cent to 9,709.01, South Korea's Kospi index rose 1.2 per cent to 2,196.26, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9 per cent to 24,099.13.