Stock markets rose on both sides of the Atlantic Monday as hopeful economic data prompted bargain hunting and a tech stock surge saw the Nasdaq finish at a record high.
Analysts did not seem entirely sure about the reasons for the rebound that also brought some solid gains to Asia's equity markets. Investors were undeterred by worsening coronavirus numbers in many parts of the world, festering US-China tension and Washington's continued inability to come up with an agreement for more relief spending.
Michael Hewson at CMC suggested that "US markets appear to be being propped up by a cohort of the large tech stocks, as well as a resilient pharmaceutical sector, on optimism about a possible vaccine or vaccines."
On Wall Street, Microsoft's progress towards a deal to buy popular video-sharing app TikTok powered the tech-rich Nasdaq up 1.5 percent to its latest record close while the Dow and S&P 500 also gained.
Quincy Krosby of Prudential said investors are trying to find growth where they can as the United States remains in deep trouble.
"Until investors and traders see that the economy is on a solid trajectory, they cling to the growth, the balance sheets and the cash flows of these big tech names," she said.
"The economy is slowing down and perhaps even stalling. That has investors concerned."
Lawmakers in Washington had still not reached an agreement on Monday on another spending measure to rescue the world's largest economy from the coronavirus downturn, after supplementary unemployment payments credited with boosting consumption expired last week.
- 'Traders at the beach' -
Among the day's data releases was an Institute for Supply Management report showing US manufacturing continuing to rebound in July, along with better-than-expected Japanese GDP data and forecast-beating Chinese manufacturing numbers.
Volumes were however light thanks to the summer holiday season, which possibly explained part of the strong market moves.
"I suspect a lot of traders are at the beach," said Stephen Innes at Axicorp, which he said was "the primary reason why its unwise to craft a narrative to rationalise August's market behavior."
Key European indices were up by around two percent or more at the close after manufacturing sector surveys in the region pointed to a return to growth.
- 'Remains rampant' -
Earlier, Japan's Nikkei 225 had received a boost from data showing the economy contracted less than first thought in January-March.
Shanghai also surged following a forecast-beating reading on factory activity from Caixin, days after an official report pointed to a much-improved manufacturing sector.
Meanwhile, a spike in coronavirus infections has forced fresh lockdowns and sparked worries about the impact on the world economy.
"COVID-19 either remains rampant or is making worrying localized comebacks across the world," said Jeffrey Halley at OANDA.
"Although not priced into financial markets yet, it remains the critical risk factor to global recovery."
- Key figures around 2100 GMT -
New York - Dow: UP 0.9 percent at 26,664.40 (close)
New York - S&P 500: UP 0.7 percent at 3,294.61 (close)
New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.5 percent at 10,902.80 (close)
London - FTSE 100: UP 2.3 percent at 6,032.85 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 2.7 percent at 12,646.98 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.9 percent at 4,875.93 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.3 percent at 3,248.28 (close)
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.2 percent at 22,195.38 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.6 percent at 24,458.13 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.8 percent at 3,367.97 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1764 from $1.1775 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 105.95 yen from 105.88 yen
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3076 from $1.3072
Euro/pound: DOWN at 89.97 pence from 90.07
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.3 percent at $40.81 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $43.91