NEW YORK, Feb 18: US and European stocks rose decisively Wednesday as strength in Chinese equities and oil prices lifted energy and commodities shares.
Sentiment was boosted by a 7.2 per cent rise in the price of Brent crude after Iran met with other major producers to discuss limiting output.
Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh welcomed a move by Saudi Arabia and Russia to pursue a coordinated strategy to limit output, but stopped short of committing Iran to any production curbs.
"The market is rewarding Opec for coming together here," said Again Capital's John Kilduff. "Just the fact they were able to have a simple meeting paves the ground for a potentially better deal in the future."
Higher oil and metals prices helped lift commodity producers, including British-listed miner Anglo American, which soared 17.6 per cent, French steelmaker ArcelorMittal, which climbed 11.9 per cent, and US oil giant Chevron, which gained 4.1 per cent.
"It's a great rally today," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank. "Looks like investors are certainly celebrating higher oil prices."
Banking shares, another embattled group, were also on solid footing. France's BNP Paribas rose 3.6 per cent, Germany's Deutsche Bank 6.3 per cent and Bank of America 2.5 per cent.
The benchmark Shanghai index climbed 1.1 per cent, a sign of further stabilization as reports swirled that China would make more cash available to local authorities to spend on new building projects.
Equity markets in Frankfurt and London closed with gains of 2.7 per cent, while Paris rose by 3.0 per cent. The US S&P 500 closed up 1.7 per cent, marking its first three-day rally of 2016.
David Levy, portfolio manager at Republic Wealth Advisors, said it was too soon to say the market has shaken its doubts. "We've seen some relief from the extreme bearish sentiment, but there's no indication of where we go to next," he said.
Key concerns include weakening growth in China, slumping commodity prices, tightening US monetary policy and poor corporate earnings. "As of now, the market remains in a downtrend and the coming days and weeks will be telling as far as where we go from here," Levy said.