Share markets in the United States and Europe have edged higher overnight, thanks to some stronger than forecast employment figures in the US and encouraging growth data in Britain.
Claims for jobless benefits in the US fell by 16,000 to 339,000 last week - that is the lowest level since mid-March and is better than the 350,000 claims that most economists were expecting.
The US profit reporting season is also continuing to please investors.
Of the 236 companies within the S&P 500 that have posted results so far, 73 per cent have beaten earnings estimates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 24 points to 14,701.
The S&P 500 has gained 6 points to 1,585 and the Nasdaq's ended 20 points higher at 3,290.
While the jobs market in the US appears to be improving, official data in Spain revealed its unemployment rate has soared to a new record of 27.16 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
The number of people without jobs in Spain has now surpassed six million.
That bad news was somewhat offset by figures showing that the British economy grew by a better-than-expected 0.3 per cent in the first quarter, compared to the final three months of last year.
That helped push London's FTSE 100 Index 11 points higher to 6,442.
Australian shares are set to gain when trading begins this morning, with the SPI 200 up 12 points to to 5,127.
The Australian dollar was at 102.87 US cents.
On the cross-rates, it was buying 79.09 euro cents, 66.67 British pence, 102.18 Japanese yen and $NZ1.21.
West Texas crude oil was higher at $US93.24 a barrel, Tapis had increased to $US107.12, and spot gold had rallied again to $US1,465.76 an ounce.