Asian shares powered ahead today with energy and resources stocks leading the way, as demand for riskier assets increased after Wall Street rallied on upbeat US earnings and economic data.
European stocks were set to gain for a fourth straight session on strength in Asian and US markets, with investors awaiting the European Commission's assessment of Greece's deficit cutting plan and the US ADP employment report later in the day.
US stock futures also pointed to a slightly firmer open after Wall Street posted two days of strong gains on encouraging economic data, which have helped dispel fears in recent weeks that America's economic recovery may be running out of steam.
Rising sales of previously owned US homes and robust earnings from US bellwethers in the consumer and industrial sectors pointed to a steady rebound in demand, fuelling gains of as much as 1.3 per cent in key U.S. stock indexes overnight.
But some analysts cautioned against predicting a strong run in Asian stocks despite the appearance of more appetite for risk.
Other analysts have echoed that view, noting that the global recovery and thus corporate earnings could be choppy.
Japan's Nikkei stock average edged up 0.3 percent, with rises by exporters on the strong US data offsetting declines for Toyota Motor Corp, whose US sales slid 16 per cent after its massive vehicle recall.
Fears of an extended sales slump pushed Toyota down 5.7 per cent. Toyota has now lost nearly 20 per cent of its market value since its recall was announced on January 21st.
All eyes will be on the automaker when it announces third-quarter results on Thursday and how the recall will affect its 2010 earnings forecasts.