Global equities rise but doubts exist about strength of rally

Asian and European shares are higher as markets enjoy a break from a global sell-off that has been going on for about two weeks.

However, there are doubts about the sustainability of today's stock gains.

"Opinions remain divided on whether this week's rally is anything more than a 'dead cat bounce'," say forex analysts at BNP Paribas. "Friday's job report will likely be key to resolving the debate, at least for the rest of the month."

The Nikkei recovers from some of its sharp losses from the previous few sessions, rising 1.2% following strong earnings reports from Panasonic, Sony and Hitachi.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Hang Seng is -0.9% and India's Sensex is +0.2%, while China remains closed for the Lunar New Year.

In Europe, PMI surveys continue to be encouraging, although shares were already higher before the data was released.

Euro Stoxx 50 +0.2%, London +0.4%, Paris +0.3%, Frankfurt +0.2%, Madrid +0.6%, Milan +0.7%.

U.S. stock futures: Dow, S&P and Nasdaq flat.

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