Stocks on Wall Street have extended their recent rally, pushing the broad S&P 500 index across the 1000 line for the first time since November.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq also cracked a significant number, reaching 2000 for the first time since October.
Solid gains in all its commodity-producing components pushed the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average up 114.95 points, or 1.3%, to c;ose at 9286.56.
The S&P 500 finished at 1002.6, up 1.5%, and the Nasdaq at 2008.6.
Strong bank profits in the UK also helped, with Bank of America rising 3.5%. Alcoa was strongest among the commodity stocks, rising 7.1%.
Ford jumped 6.8% after the cash-for-clunkers rebate scheme helped it achieve its first monthly US sales increase since 2007.
(The Canadian sharemarket was closed for a holiday.)
European shares climbed sharply after HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, surprised investors by beating forecasts with its earnings.
The pan-European Dow Jones Stoxx 600 index climbed 1.6% to 228.43, a level not seen since November 4.
HSBC jumped 5% after its first-half net profit fell 57% to $US3.35 billion as loan-impairment charges and other provisions rose 39% to $US13.93 billion. The group said that excluding charges linked to the changing value of its own debt, pretax profit was broadly flat at $US7.5 billion.
Barclays jumped 6.7% after first-half net profit rose 10% to £1.89 billion as growth from its investment banking arm helped offset rising bad-debt charges, though the result fell short of market expectations
The UK FTSE 100 index advanced 1.1% to 4682.46, the highest since October 3, while the German DAX index rose 1.8% to 5426.85 and the French CAC-40 index climbed 1.5% to 3477.80.
Commodities: Oil, gold up
Crude oil rose above $US72 a barrel for the first time in a month as increasing industrial activity bolstered optimism that fuel consumption will rebound.
Oil gained as much as 3.9% after reports showed that US manufacturing shrank at the slowest pace in 11 months and factory output in China advanced to the highest level in almost a year.
Crude oil for September delivery rose $US2.66, or 3.8%, to $US72.11 a barrel in New York. Futures touched $US72.20, the highest since June 30.
Gold climbed to the highest in almost two months as a weaker dollar boosted demand. Silver reached a seven-week high.
Gold futures for December delivery climbed $US7, or 0.7%, to $US962.80 an ounce in New York, after earlier touching $US966.90, the highest for a most-active contract since June 5.
Currencies: Dollar, yen fall
The dollar fell to the lowest versus the currencies of six major US trading partners since the weeks after Lehman Brothers’ September bankruptcy as signs the recession is easing reduced safety demand.
Sterling jumped to the highest level since October versus the dollar as HSBC reported an unexpected first-half profit and a survey showed UK manufacturing expanded last month for the first time in more than a year.
The yen fell against all of its most-traded counterparts as factories in the US contracted in July at the slowest pace in 11 months.
The dollar declined 1.2% to $US1.4429 versus the euro and reached $US1.4428, the weakest level since December 18.
The yen slid 1.8% to ¥137.46 against the euro from 1¥34.99. It depreciated 0.6% to Y95.28 against the dollar from Y94.68.
Canada’s dollar rose more than 1% to reach the highest in more than 10 months against its US counterpart.
The Canadian unit touched $C1.0651 per US dollar, the strongest level since October 2, and buys 93.73USc.