After spending much of Tuesday in the red, Europe’s stock markets raced ahead by the end of the session.
The state of the global economy remains a major concern, but investors were encouraged by the head of the US central bank Ben Bernanke saying he saw signs the credit market was improving.
That, together with stronger-than-expected results and outlook from the biggest American computer maker Hewlett-Packard, pulled up Wall Street and Europe followed suit.
The indexes were also boosted by energy producers, including BP, Total and Shell, making substantial gains due to higher oil prices. But analysts said volatility continued to be so high that a one-day gain meant little in the overall context.