Asian stocks earlier touched their highest levels in nearly three years. Europe also advanced as Spain, Italy and Portugal spurred regional indices on bets those markets would benefit most from last week's European Central Bank stimulus measures.
Peripheral European bond yields set record lows, with S&P's upgrade of Ireland's credit pushing it to a record low of 2.39 percent. Spanish 10-year yields fell below those of U.S. Treasuries for the first time since April 2010, and Italian five-year yields were also below U.S. equivalents.
The low European yields highlighted the policy divergence between the ECB and the Federal Reserve, which is reining in its monetary stimulus. But with U.S. yields low, some investors prefer equities over bonds.