London - Europe's main stock markets rallied on Wednesday, winning support from strong results from iPad maker Apple and a late overnight surge on Wall Street, dealers said.
Europe enjoyed big gains despite caution before the publication of so-called "stress tests" on the banking sector later this week.
In midday trade, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies soared 1.67% to 5 225.00 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 jumped 1.07% to 6 031.12 points and the Paris CAC 40 leapt 1.80% to 3 530.92.
The Stoxx 50 index of top eurozone shares rose 1.42% to stand at 2 664.64 points.
"Today's moves in Europe are down to the swing on Wall Street and the Apple numbers," said CMC Markets analyst James Hughes.
Wall Street witnessed a late surge to bounce back into positive territory on Tuesday, overcoming poor Wall Street results and fresh evidence of a sclerotic housing recovery.
A mad upward dash in the final two hours of trade saw the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finish the day up 0.74% to reach 10 229.96 points.
After the close, Apple announced that strong debuts for the iPad tablet computer and the new iPhone had powered the gadget maker to a record quarter which blew away market expectations.
The Cupertino, California-based company said on Tuesday its net profit rose 78% to $3.25bn in the fiscal third quarter which ended on June 26.
Excitement ahead of Bernanke's testimony
Revenue increased to a record $15.7bn from $9.73bn a year ago, while earnings per share of $3.51 also beat expectations.
Later on Wednesday, investors will switch focus to testimony by US Federal Reserve chairperson Ben Bernanke.
"There is a sense of excitement on the trading floors of the major markets ahead of today's testimony from Ben Bernanke," said IG Index analyst Anthony Grech.
"Speculation is mounting that the Fed chairperson is prepared to tell the Senate banking committee that the Fed is willing to act to assist the economic recovery.
"With the likes of Apple unveiling profit figures exceeding Wall Street forecasts, it looks like we may be in for a good day's trading once the US markets open up."
In earlier Asian deals, China stocks and a rebound on Wall Street gave most Asian markets a lift on Wednesday.
By the close of trade Hong Kong was up 1.10% and Shanghai 0.26% to finish at a three-week high.
On the downside, Tokyo finished the day down 0.23% after a brief surge caused by bargain-hunting, amid continued worries about the US and global economies.
Worries lingered about the US economy after the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that housing starts had plunged 5.0% in June, while Goldman Sachs reported an 82% collapse in second-quarter profits.
Later this week, on Friday, investors will digest the result of "stress tests" of 91 European banks. The tests are designed to assess how they would withstand further financial or economic crises.