World equities rose on Wednesday, lifted by strong outlooks and results from U.S. retailers, while crude oil gained on a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. gasoline supplies.
The earnings reports from consumer bellwethers Target Corp and Staples Inc pushed U.S. Treasury prices down, as did fears that inflation may be on the rise after a Labor Department report showed rising producer prices. For details see:
European stocks, which had fallen as financials bore the brunt of selling on Tuesday after French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to appease investor concerns about Europe's debt crisis, rebounded.
Stocks also gained as investors speculated the Federal Reserve will again intervene in the U.S. bond market in an attempt to shore up a still-struggling economy.
Investors are watching for any indications of further monetary easing, in particular when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on August 26 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
"Part of the stabilization in the equity market is that there is some expectation that there is going to be something coming out of those meetings," said Alan De Rose, head trader of government trading and finance at Oppenheimer & Co in New York.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 8/32 in price to yield 2.25 percent.
Both Target and Staples posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings, leading Target to forecast a more profitable year than analysts expected and Staples to raise its profit outlook.
Deere & Co and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc also posted better-than-expected quarterly profits.
"We've seen some household names put out better earnings numbers this morning, and that's extremely constructive," said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 109.29 points, or 0.96 percent, at 11,515.22. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 14.21 points, or 1.19 percent, at 1,206.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.60 points, or 0.78 percent, at 2,543.05.
Global stocks, as measured by MSCI's all-country world equity index, gained 1.1 percent.
In Europe, German government bonds rallied and were likely to remain supported as Franco-German plans for closer fiscal integration in the euro zone did little to soothe concerns that the region's debt crisis will abate any time soon.
The U.S. dollar dropped across the board, hurt by steep losses versus the Swiss franc and selling in the midst of improved risk appetite.
The franc jumped sharply after fresh steps by the Swiss National Bank to stem the currency's gains disappointed a market positioned for more radical measures.
The euro tumbled more than 2 percent against the franc but was up 0.60 percent at $1.4494 against the dollar.
The dollar was down against a basket of major currencies, with the U.S. Dollar Index down 0.64 percent at 73.535.
Brent crude rose 2.1 percent to $111.43 a barrel, while U.S. light sweet crude oil advanced 2.53 percent to $88.84 a barrel.
Spot gold prices rose $5.59 to $1,790.50 an ounce.