World stock markets surged Monday, led by rallying banking shares, on growing expectations that Britain will vote to remain part of the European Union in a hard fought referendum this week.
The British pound also rose sharply higher against the euro and dollar as the Brexit battle enters its final days, with latest polls showing the "Remain" camp gaining ground.
Russ Mould, investment director at brokerage AJ Bell, said markets in Britain's European peers had their own reasons for warily awaiting the outcome of Thursday's vote.
"Markets in the UK and Europe seem to prefer the relative certainty offered by a 'Remain' vote," he told AFP.
"Were the UK to vote 'Leave' then the EU would face some potentially serious existential questions, as other countries may see eurosceptic parties pressing for their own votes on whether to stay or go."
Traders on Wall Street also appeared to welcome the prospect of the status quo.
Europe's main bourses all shot up by more than three percent in mid afternoon trading, with Paris' CAC 40 leading its Frankfurt and London counterparts.
"We know markets abhor uncertainty, so the Brexit vote appearing settled this morning has already gone a long way to reduce the wall of worry," Mark Vickery, of Zacks Investment Research, said in a note to clients.
- Safe haven assets retreat -
On foreign exchange, the pound rose around 2.0 percent to hit a three-week high at $1.4673, before easing back. The euro hit a two-week low versus sterling at 77.31 pence.
"If sterling is anything to go by, markets well and truly think voters have swung in favour of 'Remain'," said Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital.
Safe haven assets, the yen and gold, meanwhile retreated Monday after strong gains last week.
Despite the change in sentiment, the average of the last six British European Union referendum polls put the 'Remain' and 'Leave' camps neck-and-neck at 50-50, excluding undecided voters, according to the What UK Thinks website.
World markets (Xetra: 4WM.DE - news) had slid early last week as polls showed 'Leave' in the lead, but Tokyo closed up 2.3 percent Monday, adding to gains of one percent ahead of the weekend pause.
"As the UK steps in the crucial Brexit week, we are prepared for... choppy market conditions," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, market analyst at London Capital Group.
Banking share prices rocketed Monday, with Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) up more than 7.0 percent in London, Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) won 6.6 percent, while BNP Paribas (LSE: 0HB5.L - news) advanced just over 5.0 percent in Paris deals.
Analysts said the "Remain" camp won some support after the murder last week of British MP and "Remain" campaigner Jo Cox.
British lawmakers gathered Monday to pay tribute to Cox, in a rare show of unity as the EU referendum campaign enters its final stretch.
The vote on Thursday could see Britain become the first country to leave the 28-member European Union.
- Key figures around 1345 GMT -
London - FTSE 100: UP 3.2 percent at 6,214.25 points
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 3.4 percent at 9,961.29
Paris - CAC 40: UP 3.5 percent at 4,342.04
EURO STOXX 50: UP 3.3 percent at 2,944.21
New York - DOW: UP 1.4 percent at 17,922.59
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 2.3 percent at 15,965.30 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 2,888.81 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 1.7 percent at 20,510.20 (close)
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1342 from $1.1280 late Friday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.4634 from $1.4348
Dollar/yen: UP at 104.46 yen from 104.19 yen