U.S. Markets

U.S. stocks ended higher on Tuesday, as oil prices eased to below $105 a barrel and financials rallied on upbeat profit forecast from the Bank of America.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 124.35 points, or 1.03 percent, to 12,214.38; the S&P 500 index gained 11.69 points, or 0.89 percent, to 1321.82; and Nasdaq Composite climbed 20.14 points, or 0.73 percent.

Oil prices fell 0.64 percent to $104.77 per barrel in New York on conflicting and vague reports that Gaddafi and Libyan rebel groups may be in negotiations to settle on a peace deal.

The Bank of America led the rally in financial sector after its chief executive Brian Moynihan provided a very upbeat multi-year outlook and also said the bank plans to increase its share buyback program and might raise its dividend.

Among the Dow components, Bank of America surged 4.35 percent and American Express gained 3.5 percent, while JPMorgan advanced 2.68 percent.

Sprint Nextel Corp (NYSE:S) shares surged 4.91 percent on news that Deutsche Telekom AG has been in talks to sell T-Mobile USA to Sprint in exchange for a stake in the combined entity.

Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN) shares plunged 16.66 percent as its fourth quarter earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations. Its quarterly net income declined to $75.2 million or $0.45 per share compared to $77.7 million or $0.45 per share in the same quarter last year, while analysts expected a net profit of $0.52 per share.

Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE) shares gained 2.86 percent after the company stock was upgraded to “buy” rating from “hold” rating at Citi.

European Markets

European stock markets declined in early trading on Wednesday as concerns over the sovereign debt crisis offset declines in oil prices.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.13 percent to 281.44. DAX30 declined 4.80 points or 0.07 percent to 7,159.95, CAC 40 fell 14.45 points or 0.36 percent 4,001.46 and the FTSE 100 declined 28.10 points or 0.47 percent to 5,946.66.

European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. advanced 3.4 percent to 20.51 euros. The company swung to full year net profit of 553 million euros compared to a net loss of 763 million euros a year ago.

Alcatel-Lucent SA plunged 4.55 percent to 3.789 euros as its fourth quarter earnings guidance fell short of analysts’ expectations. The company guided fourth quarter earnings in the range of $0.31 to $0.35 per share, while analysts expected earnings of $0.48 per share.

Tognum AG gained 3.49 percent to 24.16 euros after Daimler AG and Rolls-Royce Group plc announced their intention to launch a public tender offer for 100 per cent of the share capital of Tognum AG.

Asian Markets

Asian stock markets gained on Wednesday as a retreat in oil prices and gains on Wall Street overnight buoyed sentiment.

Tokyo shares ended higher after a report showed that Japanese machinery orders rose more than expected in January. Nikkei advanced 0.61 percent or 64.31 points to 10,589.50.

Japanese machinery orders rose 4.2 percent in January compared to 1.7 percent gain in December and against analysts’ expectations of 3 percent increase.

Dainippon Screen Manufacturing surged 4.61 percent to 839 yen, Life Insurance gained 1.33 percent to 152,200 yen and Yaskawa Electric Corp advanced 2.58 percent to 994 yen after the publisher of the Nikkei 225 said the shares will be added to the Nikkei 225 Stock Average on March 29.

Inpex Corp. declined 1.197 percent to 578,000 yen as oil prices eased to below $105 a barrel. Dai-ichi

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 101.38 points or 0.43 percent to 23,814.49 and Chinese Shanghai composite gained 0.11 percent or 3.23 points to 3,003.17.

China Construction Bank Corp. advanced 1.7 percent to HK$7.18 and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. gained 1.29 percent to HK$6.27, while Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. surged 4.52 percent to HK$18.94.

South Korean shares ended modestly higher as declines in technology sector shares weighed. Benchmark Seoul composite gained 5.15 points or 0.26 percent to 2,001.47. Samsung Electronics declined 1 percent and Samsung Electro-Mechanics plunged 6.1 percent.