Stocks in the United States are trading slightly higher despite disappointing jobless numbers, as traders weighed news that the European Central Bank will continue stimulus measures.
ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet confirmed the bank would continue to purchase European government bonds.
He also confirmed that the ECB would continue its support of struggling banks within the eurozone.
So far the ECB has spent 67 billion euros ($US88 billion) on purchasing government bonds.
Earlier on Thursday, the ECB kept eurozone interest rates at 1% for the 19th successive month.
The Dow Jones Index on Thursday was up 115 points, or 1%, to 11,371.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 28 points, or 1%, to 2576.
Earlier in Europe: the FTSE 100 index in London jumped 2.2%, the CAC-40 in Paris gained 2% and the DAX in Frankfurt rose 1.32%.
In Japan, the Nikkei made its biggest daily gain in a fortnight, adding 180 points to close at 10,168. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong finished up slightly at 23,448.
Across the Tasman, the Australian 200 Index rose 90 points, or 2%, on Thursday to close at 4676
The NZX 50 gained 20 points, or 0.6%, to finish at 3285.
At 8.16am on Friday, the New Zealand dollar was trading at 75.5 US cents, 77.3 Australian cents, 48.36 pence, 63.26 yen and 0.5711 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 68.45.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US89.85 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1396.85 per ounce.