Current Futures: Dow +103.00, S&P +12.50, NASDAQ +20.50

European equity markets and U.S. futures continue to advance side-by-side this morning. Asian markets also closed higher, setting the stage for the best month over the last few years. 

European markets are also heading towards a similar performance, as the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index has fully recovered from the declines seen in the first three months of the year. The index rose 12% in April, the biggest monthly gain on record.

“The global markets started the rally at the beginning of March as the major banks announced that they will show profit in the first quarter. Further momentum was added after the main economic reports showed signs of stabilizing” TheLFB-Forex.com Trade Team said. “Lately, the market has been pulled higher by companies’ beating analysts’ estimates. 66% of the S&P member companies beat their first quarter earnings projections, while a similar percentage was seen in the major European indexes,” they added.

In the European markets, a staggering majority of companies advanced, on optimism surrounding the global recovery. On the U.K. Ftse, the financials posted very strong gains for a second consecutive day. Helped by Thursday’s gain, the German Dax has recovered every point lost during 2009, after a number of companies posted better than expected results.
 
Today, the equity markets expect earnings reports from Apache Corporation, Canon, Colgate-Palmolive, Comcast Corporation, Dolby Laboratories, Eastman Kodak, Exxon Mobil, Kellogg, MetLife, Motorola, Omnicare and Dow Chemical.

Overnight, the Nikkei rose 334.49 points (3.94%) to 8,828.26. The Australian S&P/Asx added 85.20 points (2.31%) to 3,780.50. The U.K. Ftse rose 48.61 points (1.16%) to 4,238.20, while the German Dax gained 84.22 points (1.79%) to 4,788.78

Crude oil for May delivery was recently trading at $51.80 per barrel, up $0.85.

Gold for May delivery was recently trading down $1.30 to $899.20.