In Europe the FTSE added eight points to settle at 5702, whilst the DAX firmed 0.3%. The CAC underperformed, shedding a modest 0.2%.
Stateside the Dow rallied 97 points (+0.8%), whilst the S&P 500 (+1.1%) and Nasdaq (+1.5%) fared even better.
A gauge of confidence among American homebuilders rose in January to the highest level in more than four years as sales and buyer traffic improved, whilst industrial production rebounded in December reflecting gains in demand for business equipment, automobiles and construction materials.
The US dollar fell against the euro on reduced demand for a refuge on the back of the industrial production numbers, whilst the British pound weakened against the euro as Britain’s unemployment rate rose to a 16-year high of 8.4%.
The Aussie dollar enjoyed another positive session and is currently trading near US$1.0435.
Oil shed 0.1% to US$100.59 a barrel as geopolitical tensions in Iran and Nigeria eased slightly, reducing supply concerns.
Base metals were mixed; aluminium, nickel and zinc eased while other metals rose, with lead posting the strongest gain, up 1.5%.
Gold advanced for a second consecutive session, hitting a five-week high due to US dollar weakness. Bullion added 0.4% higher at US$1,664 an ounce.
Woodside (WPL) and Santos (STO) are set to release their quarterly production numbers today.
Today’s session will bring us data in the form of the Melbourne Institute inflation expectations at 11:00am, AEDT, and the all important employment change and unemployment rate figures are 11:30am, AEDT.