​Global stocks rally on new stimulus hopes

Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average and the Japanese yen's exchange rate against the euro in Tokyo on Jan. 22, 2016.

REUTERS/Toru Hanai

FRANKFURT, Germany - Global stocks bounced back strongly Friday, buoyed by sharply higher oil prices and the prospect of more monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank.

Japan led the rebound as the Nikkei had its best single day in four years, just two days after entering bear market territory.

In early European trading, France's CAC 40 added 3.0 percent to 4,332.78 and Germany's DAX rose 2.0 percent to 9,762.41 Britain's FTSE 100 climbed 2.23 percent to 5,902.61.

U.S. stocks were poised to open higher: Dow futures were up 1.2 percent and broader S&P 500 futures rose 1.4 percent.

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi cheered investors by saying the bank is prepared to take action as early as its next meeting in March to expand existing stimulus efforts. While the ECB left key interest rates and its 1.5 trillion euro ($1.6 trillion) monetary stimulus program unchanged Thursday, Draghi underscored his willingness to ramp up the program if plummeting oil prices and market turmoil threaten the continent's weak economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 posted its biggest one-day gain in more than four months, soaring 5.9 percent to close at 16,958.53 on hopes the Bank of Japan would join Europe in promising additional monetary stimulus. South Korea's Kospi gained 2.1 percent to 1,879.43. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2.9 percent to 19,080.51 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China climbed 1.3 percent to 2,916.56. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.1 percent to 4,916.00. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Southeast Asia and New Zealand also ended higher.

"Monetary easing speculation is providing a boost for Asian markets today," Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG in Melbourne, said in a commentary. "Nowhere more so than in Japan."

Oil prices rebounding from their lowest in 12 years are also supporting investor sentiment. Crude futures extended gains after bouncing back from their worst day in four months. U.S. benchmark crude rose by 1.62, or 5.5 percent, to $31.15 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose $1.92 to $31.17 a barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 118.25 yen Friday from 117.77 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened on the prospect of further stimulus, slipping to $1.0825 from $1.0851.