In Europe the FTSE added 20 points (+0.3%) to settle at 5895, whilst the CAC (+0.4%) and DAX (+0.6%) also enjoyed gains.
The European Central Bank left its key policy rate unchanged at 1% overnight; there was not even a discussion of a potential rate cut at the meeting.
ECB president Draghi commented that he no longer sees ´´substantial´´ downside economic risks and re-iterated the belief that the first three-year LTRO (central banks agreeing to provide liquidity to the banking system) had helped the eurozone to avoid a deep credit crunch.
Stateside, the Dow Jones added seven points to settle at 12891, whilst the broader S&P added 0.2% and the Nasdaq put on 0.4%.
US jobless claims fell by 15,000 to 358,000 last week – against expectations of a rise and signalled the ongoing improvement in the labour market.
US wholesale inventories grew by a larger than expected 1% in December – suggesting the economy received a bigger boost than expected in the fourth quarter from companies restocking their shelves.
The Aussie dollar remained firm overnight, holding around the US$1.08 handle, whilst the euro reached a two-month high against the greenback and the yen on the Greek austerity agreement.
Oil added US$1.13 to US$99.84 a barrel, capping its longest rally this year on the US jobless claims data and the Greek agreement.
In company news, Newcrest has reported a 50% surge in 1H12 net profit to $659 million. The result was buoyed by a recovery in gold prices.
Today’s session will bring us the latest RBA Monetary Policy Statement, at 11:30am, AEDT, and well as Chinese Trade Balance data (tentative).