US markets snapped their losing streak overnight, with the Dow Jones closing above the key 16000 level for the first time.
The renewed optimism on Wall Street came after data showed a bigger-than-expected decrease in weekly US jobless claims.
A surprise jump in US manufacturing activity this month further fuelled risk appetite, and allayed concerns of a threat to economic growth from a reduction in Fed stimulus.
The Dow soared 109 points (+0.7%) to 16010, the Nasdaq climbed 48 points (+1.2%) to 3969 and the S&P500 put on 15 points (+0.8%) to 1796.
Most commodities strengthened, even though data yesterday revealed a surprise slowdown in Chinese manufacturing growth in November.
Oil soared 1.4% to US$95.16 a barrel as the drop in US jobless claims brightened the outlook for energy demand.
Conversely, gold slid 1.1% to US$1244 an ounce as traders price in either a December or January start date for Fed stimulus tapering.
The potential for an imminent reduction in the Fed’s monthly bond buys, combined with improving economic data, saw money flow into the US dollar.
The greenback was strongest against the yen and Aussie, with the latter taking a hit from yesterday’s comments from Glenn Stevens, in which he flagged the possibility of currency intervention in order to weaken the dollar.
There is no major economic data due for release today.