KEEPING SCORE: Germany's Dax rose 1.4 per cent to 9,122.83 and France's CAC-40 added 0.8 per cent to 4,203.02. Britain's FTSE-100 shed 0.2 per cent to 6,482. Wall Street looked set for more gains, with futures for the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 both up 0.2 per cent.
ASIA'S DAY: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 was off 0.7 per cent at 15,478.93, adding to the previous day's 1.2 per cent loss. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.2 per cent to 23,534.53 and China's Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 per cent to 2,389.37. Seoul was closed for a holiday. India's Sensex rose 1.6 per cent to 26,664.39. Sydney and Taiwan rose.
WALL STREET: All three major U.S. indices had their biggest one-day percentage gain of 2014. The DJ added 1.6 per cent, the S&P gained 1.8 per cent and the Nasdaq composite was up 1.9 per cent.
THE FED: Minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting showed policymakers would start to raise interest rates only after the economy came close to the U.S. central bank's goals for maximum employment with inflation running at an annual rate of 2 per cent. The minutes revealed policymakers' concern about the impact on the United States of a strong dollar, which can drag on exports, and weak Eurozone growth.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "U.S. growth is slow. Foreign growth is slower. The Fed is ending QE just when everyone else is getting ready to ramp it up. And the Fed has no choice but to be deliberately vague about when rate hikes may eventually come," said DBS Group in a report.
GLOBAL GROWTH: The IMF cut its outlook for this year and next for global growth, citing weakness in Japan, Latin America and Europe. The IMF expects the global economy will grow 3.3 per cent this year, slightly below what it forecast in July. Europe, in particular, has been weak. Germany said Tuesday that its industrial output fell 4 per cent in August, far more than expected.
EUROPE: Investors were looking ahead to a speech in Washington by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank. Worries that Europe's weakness will drag on the United States and other economies have grown after Germany said industrial output fell by 4 per cent in August, more than expected.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude added 47 cents to $87.78 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the contract dropped $1.54 to an 18-month low of $87.31 on lower global demand and high supplies. Brent crude, used to price international oils, shed 12 cents to $91.67.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 107.92 yen from Wednesday's 108.11 yen. The euro held steady at $1.24.