World markets rise on 'solid' bond auctions


World stocks and the euro rose today as solid European bond auctions eased worries about the euro zone debt crisis while encouraging earnings reports from Morgan Stanley and Bank of America bolstered Wall Street.

The euro also jumped, hitting two-week highs, as good demand for European government bonds offset fears about a messy Greek debt default.

The main US stock indexes all opened higher, with the S&P 500 rising 0.2 per cent to touch its highest levels since July 2011.

The rise in share prices came as more US financial institutions followed Wall Street's biggest bank, Goldman Sachs, in reporting encouraging earnings for the fourth quarter.

Bank of America Corp climbed about 5 percent to $7.14 after it reported a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a year-earlier loss, boosted by one-time items and lower expenses for bad loans.

Fellow financial Morgan Stanley jumped nearly 7 per cent to $18.48 after posting quarterly results.

"To the extent those earnings are going to meet expectations or beat expectations, it is giving a generally positive tone for the rest of the day," said Rick Meckler, president of investment firm LibertyView Capital Management in New York.

Shortly after the open, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 8.47 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,587.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.97 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 1,310.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.84 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 2,779.55.

Global stocks as measured by the MSCI index were up 0.6 per cent at 312.89, the highest level since October 31st.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.7 per cent at 1,043.43 points to trade near 5.5 month highs.

The euro was up around 0.2 per cent against the dollar, at 1.2890 versus an earlier high of $1.2926.