European stocks closed higher on Wednesday, lifted by US housing data and Japan's extra economic stimulus following similar moves from the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day up 0.35 percent at 5,888.48 points, while in Frankfurt, the Dax 30 was 0.59 percent higher at 7,390.76 points, and in Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.54 percent to 3,531.82 points.
In foreign exchange deals, the euro gained to $1.3064 from $1.3044 in New York late on Tuesday.
Portugal continued to benefit from the European Central Bank's announcement of a programme to buy bonds from distressed eurozone members, with the country successfully raising 2.0 billion euros at sharply lower interest rates in a short-term bond auction.
The debt-laden state under an EU-IMF bailout raised 1.291 billion euros for 18 months at 2.967 percent compared with 4.537 percent at the last such issue on April 4. It also raised 709 million euros for six months at 1.7 percent, from 2.292 percent on July 18.
Asian equities meanwhile fizzed higher after the Bank of Japan (BoJ) said it would boost a asset-buying scheme to kickstart the economy.
The BoJ announced after a two-day policy meeting it would boost an asset-purchasing fund by 10 trillion yen ($128 billion) to 80 trillion yen while also keeping interest rates between zero and 0.1 percent.
In the US, at around 1400 GMT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.34 percent, the S&P 500 index rose 0.29 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq inched up 0.08 percent.
New home construction in the United States rebounded in August from a July decline as the distressed housing market slowly continues to stabilise, government data released Wednesday showed.
Housing starts rose 2.3 percent from July to an annual rate of 750,000, the Commerce Department said. But the August pace in housing starts was a bit weaker than expected, with the consensus estimate at 770,000.
"Housing remains one of the strongest sectors of the US economy and this slightly disappointing data doesn't change the outlook," said Dick Green at Briefing.com.
Markets in Asia were lifted by the Japanese stimulus programme.
"The Bank of Japan has decided to bring its own punchbowl to the global stimulus party, throwing ten trillion yen at the Japanese economy," said analyst Chris Beauchamp at trading group IG Index.
"In part, this is designed to help weaken the yen, in order to defuse the pleas of Japanese exporters, but the sight of yet another central bank acting positively should help global markets.
"For now, however, the move has had little impact, with the FTSE fighting hard to stay in positive territory.
"Perhaps we are seeing investors suffering from a bout of central bank fatigue, or perhaps it is a dawning realisation that, even with policymakers dispensing cash left, right and centre, there is still a slowing global economy to deal with," Beauchamp added.
Tokyo's stock market rose to the highest level for more than four months following the BoJ announcement, gaining 1.19 percent to 9,232.21 points -- which was the highest closing level since May 2.
Sydney shares gained 0.54 percent to also finish at their highest level since May. Elsewhere, Hong Kong rallied 1.16 percent and Shanghai rose 0.40 percent in value.
The BoJ's move will see the bank provide more yen liquidity to markets as it purchases government and corporate bonds, and commercial paper.
Following the news, the dollar rose to a three-week high at 79.22 yen before giving up gains to trade at 78.41 yen in European deals. Late on Tuesday, the greenback traded at 78.80 yen.