Green ink lit up the international leaderboard overnight with all major indices positing gains, albeit modest ones.
In Europe the FTSE added 12 points (+0.2%) to settle at 5928, whilst the CAC (+0.4%) and DAX (+0.6%) also posted gains.
European shares posted gains despite weaker than expected eurozone consumer confidence which came in at -20.3 versus an expected -20.2.
Elsewhere in the region, UK house prices rose 1.1% in January from December, whilst inflation expectations for the year ahead rose to 2.8% in February from 2.6% in January.
Stateside, the Dow Jones added 24 points (+0.2%) to close above the key 13000 point, whilst the S&P (+0.3%) and Nasdaq (+0.7%) also gained ground.
US durable goods orders fell by 4.0% in January, below expectations for a fall of 1%. Excluding transport, orders fell by 3.2%. The fall was blamed on expiration of a tax incentive at the end of 2011. US consumer confidence rose from 61.5 to a 12-month high of 70.8.
The Richmond Fed manufacturing index lifted from +12 to a 12-month high of +20 and the S&P/Case Shiller home price series fell 0.5% in December, as expected.
The Aussie dollar remains strong, trading around is strong at US$1.075, whilst the euro strengthened against the greenback and yen on speculation an ECB allotment of three-year loans to banks tomorrow will bolster investor appetite for the region’s assets.
Oil lost ground again, giving up 1.9% to US$106.55 a barrel.
Base metals were mixed again; tin rose 1.5% and zinc added 1.2%. Other metals were little changed except nickel which lost 1.9%.
Gold rose for the first time in three sessions, adding 0.7% to US$1,790 an ounce.
In company news, WorleyParsons has reported an 18% rise in 1H12 net profit to $152 million. All divisions reported earnings growth, however margins were impacted by cost increases.
Earnings are also expected from Harvey Norman and Lynas. Rio (84c), Echo (4c) and Tatts (11c) go ex dividend today.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of HIA new home sales (tentative), retail sales, construction, and private sector credit (11:30am, AEDT).