Global stocks push higher as oil shrugs off Doha flop

NEW YORK (AFP) - Global equities charged higher on Tuesday (April 19) as rising oil prices and buoyant German investor confidence brought cheer to markets.

Gains were especially strong in Germany and Japan, where a lower yen propelled the shares of major exporters on speculation the Bank of Japan would enact more aggressive stimulus in response to earthquakes in the country.

"Stocks appear to be taking their cue from the positive momentum in global oil prices, ignoring the pull from mixed earnings reports" and soft US homebuilding data, Sheraz Mian of Zacks Investment Research said in a note.

US oil prices climbed 3.3 per cent to US$41.08 a barrel as sharply curtailed production in Kuwait due to the strike by petroleum workers spurred hopes for an easing of the global crude glut.

The Kuwait strike also relegated to the back burner the failed weekend talks in Doha, Qatar to limit oil output.

"Doha meeting? What Doha meeting?" said analyst Brenda Kelly at traders London Capital Group.

Frankfurt led Europe's bourses, closing well over two percent higher, after the Zew German investor confidence index for April posted a robust 6.9 point increase.

That was the second monthly rise in a row and beat analysts' forecasts.

Elsewhere, London stocks added just under one percent as the FTSE 100 hit its highest level for the year so far, while Paris did the same, winning 1.3 percent in value.

In the US, the broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent, shrugging off lackluster results from IBM and others.

Peter Cardillo of First Standard Financial said the market "is looking tired. The earnings are coming in, most of the companies are beating expectations - that were low, obviously." "I think it's only a matter of time before this market runs out of steam and has a little bit of a correction."

The Nikkei in Japan jumped 3.7 per cent, as major exporters like Toyota and Sony prospered on the falling yen.

Miners and petroleum producers, a big presence on London's FTSE, were among the major winners, with Anglo American surging 8.5 percent, BHP Billiton 5.3 percent and BP 2.0 percent.

On Wall Street, IBM shares tumbled 5.6 percent after revenues fell for the 16th straight quarter. But the technology giant, struggling to carve out space in the cloud computing industry, easily beat net earnings forecasts.

Goldman Sachs climbed 2.3 percent as it reported a 56.3 percent drop in first-quarter earnings to $1.2 billion, but gave a fairly bullish outlook for the mergers and acquisitions business now that financial markets have stabilized.

Netflix plummeted 13 percent on disappointment that it projected that it would add 2.5 million members in the current quarter, compared with 3.3 million net additions in the same three months of last year.

The decline in the streaming video company helped drag the tech-rich Nasdaq 0.4 percent lower, a rare loser in an up day for global stocks.