LONDON World stocks rose for a second straight day on Wednesday thanks to favourable U.S. and European corporate earnings, while the euro slipped on uncertainty over whether debt-laden Greece would need additional financial aid.
Oil prices and the euro dipped after China's April inflation came in slightly above expectations, but other data, including industrial output, suggested slower activity and less room for aggressive tightening to curb growth.
British supermarket group J Sainsbury (SBRY.L) rose 0.6 percent at one point after it met full-year forecasts, and grew market share despite a challenging consumer environment.
"The corporate news has generally been very positive," said Justin Urquhart Stewart, director at Seven Investment Management.
"You can see a trail of issues such as U.S. debt, the end of QE2, sorting out the euro, but for the time being, people are enjoying a corporate spring." MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.2 percent, coming within 10 points of a three-year high set last week.
The Thomson Reuters global stock index .TRXFLDGLPU gained 0.15 percent.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 erased earlier gains after HSBC (HSBA.L) fell 1.3 percent following its statement that Europe's biggest bank is reviewing its U.S. cards business and streamlining wealth management and retail banking operations as it eyes savings of up to $3.5 billion.
Emerging stocks .MSCIEF rose 0.6 percent.
U.S. crude oil fell 0.2 percent to $103.73 a barrel, having suffered its worst weekly sell-off on record last week.
The Bund futures fell 14 ticks.
Speculation over whether Greece will receive more bailout funding was likely to keep peripheral trading volatile, as investors continue to price in a high probability that the country will eventually need to restructure its debt.
The dollar .DXY was steady against a basket of major currencies while the euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.4372.
"I think giving Greece more financing is the only option they can take. But the euro will be driven by news headlines for now. It can easily move 100 pips in either direction," a trader at a Japanese brokerage said.
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde told Le Figaro newspaper it is hard to see Greece returning to debt markets in 2012 and Europe would have to keep financing countries in difficulty to avoid a costly restructuring.
(Additional reporting by Brian Gorman; editing by Stephen Nisbet)