European and Asian stock markets rose Tuesday as fresh stimulus from the Chinese central bank lifted hopes for the world's number two economy, analysts said.
Frankfurt's DAX 30 index was the standout European performer, rising 1.7 percent in midday deals, helped also by official data showing that German unemployment remained at historic lows in February.
"The major indices across Asia managed to post some fairly solid gains, helping Europe to lift its positive start to the week and push the major European stock markets towards monthly highs," said James Hughes, chief market analyst at traders GKFX.
Markets also were boosted Tuesday by merger talk, according to analysts.
US-based global markets operator Intercontinental Exchange said it was mulling a bid for the London Stock Exchange Group, already in merger talks with Germany's Deutsche Boerse, operator of the Frankfurt market.
ICE, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, said in a statement that it was "considering making an offer for LSEG", which owns the London and Milan stock exchanges.
China though was the key driver behind higher markets after its central bank cut the amount of reserves banks must set aside in Beijing's latest attempt at tackling the country's slowing growth.
After Chinese markets closed Monday, policymakers cut the "reserve requirement ratio" for financial institutions -- the share of deposits that they must have available in cash -- by 0.50 percentage points, freeing up more funds for them to lend.
The announcement boosted the mood across Asian trading floors, with Shanghai jumping 1.7 percent and Tokyo reversing early losses to close up 0.4 percent Tuesday.
China's central bank move came after a G20 finance ministers' weekend meeting in Shanghai that stressed the use of all available policy tools to boost growth and settle wild volatility on global equity markets.
And it helped to offset more weak Chinese manufacturing figures. Official data Tuesday showed that February activity shrank at its fastest rate in four years.
India's main stocks index meanwhile posted its biggest rise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power almost two years ago, after the government presented a budget expected to boost rural demand.
At one point the index was up 3.5 percent before closing 3.4-percent higher.
- Key figures around 1100 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP less than 0.7 percent at 6,139.70 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.7 percent at 9,657.70
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 4,385.62
EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.1 percent at 2,978.39
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.37 percent at 16,085.51 (close)
Shanghai - composite: UP 1.68 percent at 2,733.17 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.58 percent at 19,413.19 (close)
New York - Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 16,516.50 points (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0868 from $1.0876 on Monday
Dollar/yen: UP at 113.18 yen from 112.72 yen