World stocks hit a two-week high on Thursday and oil prices rose as optimism from strong U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data extended into a second day ahead of a euro zone interest rate decision and key U.S. jobs data.

Wall Street posted its best day in eight weeks on Wednesday, led by economically sensitive sectors like industrials and basic metals, after the upbeat manufacturing surveys from the world's two largest economies.

The market was just seeking optimism and this came from strong manufacturing data, said Serene Lim, oil analyst at ANZ in Singapore. The MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> rose 0.2 percent to the two-week high. The Thomson Reuters global stock index <.TRXFLDGLPU> rose 0.3 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index <.FTEU3> was down 0.1 percent, with investors remaining cautious ahead of Thursday's European Central Bank decision on rates and Friday's closely-watched U.S. jobs report. Emerging stocks <.MSCIEF> added 0.5 percent.

You're getting a lot of quick, knee-jerk reactions in both directions. These disparate pieces of economic data are being reacted to but the information is by no means clear, said Angus Gluskie, portfolio manager at White Funds Management in Australia.

We've got the potential for markets to pick up strongly into the end of the year, but we may well have to go through a few nervous weeks in September first.

U.S. crude oil ticked higher towards $74 a barrel.

The bund future was steady on the day.

The yen rose a third of a percent to 84.17 per dollar, off its 15-year high of 83.58 hit last week.

The dollar <.DXY> lost 0.1 percent against a basket of major currencies while the euro was steady at $1.2809 ahead of the ECB meeting.

The central bank is seen keeping its benchmark refinancing rate at 1.0 percent and extending lending support for banks as it seeks to manage a multi-speed recovery among the 16 countries in the euro zone.

Traders will be watching to see whether ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, whose news conference is due at 1:30 p.m., makes a formal decision to extend liquidity to help the banking system and whether he reiterates a cautious stance on the economic outlook after solid second-quarter figures.

(Additional reporting by Tamawa Desai; Editing by John Stonestreet)