Europe's major stock markets rose on Wednesday, with Frankfurt's main index hitting a record high level following fresh peaks on Wall Street overnight, while the euro rose against the dollar.
Dealers were eagerly awaiting to see how Manchester United (NYSE: MANU - news) shares perform when trading opens on Wall Street after the English Premier League champions said long-serving manager Alex Ferguson would retire later this month.
In late morning deals, London's FTSE 100 (FTSE: ^FTSE - news) index of leading companies was up 0.20 percent to 6,570.68 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 (Paris: ^FCHI - news) gained 0.51 percent to 3,941.47 points.
Frankfurt's DAX (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) reached a record-high 8,213.71 points, beating the previous record level struck on Tuesday. It later stood at 8,212.28, up 0.37 percent compared with the previous day's close.
Official data Wednesday revealed a robust rise in German industrial output during March, driven by a sharp increase in the energy sector.
Industrial production in Europe's largest economy rose by 1.2 percent in March compared with the previous month, according to provisional seasonally adjusted figures released by the economy ministry.
"Helping to push the DAX higher... has been the industrial production figure for March, which followed the (German) factory orders data yesterday, in coming out much better than expected," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at traders Alpari.
Equities have won solid support in recent days also owing to last Friday's positive US jobs data and as major central banks cut interest rates.
"European stock markets are trading modestly higher... extending previous session gains thanks to strength overnight in US and Asian markets," said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital trading group.
In foreign exchange deals Wednesday, the European single currency climbed to $1.3117, from $1.3074 late in New York on Tuesday.
On the London Bullion Market, gold increased to $1,455.21 an ounce from $1,444.25.
Asian stock markets closed higher Wednesday after Wall Street and European stocks reached new highs, and as China released better than expected trade figures for April, dealers said.
Tokyo closed up 0.74 percent at 14,285.69 points -- a day after the Nikkei finished at its highest level in almost five years.
Sydney responded positively to Tuesday's decision by Australia's central bank to cut interest rates to an all-time low of 2.75 percent, while Shanghai added 0.48 percent as data showed China recorded a higher than expected $18.2-billion trade surplus in April.
In New York on Tuesday, the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high on renewed optimism about the US economy.
The Dow finished above 15,000 for the first time, jumping 0.58 percent to 15,056.20. The S&P 500 rose 0.52 percent to 1,625.96 -- its fourth consecutive all-time closing high -- while the Nasdaq increased 0.11 percent.
"There's not much out on the economic plate later in the US session so attention will be on how US markets will respond to Manchester United shares... after Ferguson officially announced his retirement," said Siddiqi.