LONDON (AFP) - World stock markets sprinted ahead Wednesday, driven higher by reports of brighter global growth prospects and as investors hunted for bargains a day after heavy losses brought on by European debt fears. The positive mood on equities markets however did not extend to the besieged euro, which fell to 1.2216 dollars in late-day trade from 1.2337 on Tuesday on persistent jitters regarding the fate of European public finances and banking sector. Fears that the European banking sector is sitting on bad debts will be sufficient for the market to remain nervous and for the euro to remain under pressure medium-term, said analyst Jane Foley of Forex.com. Stock market players in Europe and the United States took heart from the latest projection by the OECD that worldwide economic momentum would hit 4.6pc this year after a contraction of 0.9 percent in 2009. In its previous forecast in November last year, the OECD predicted growth in the global economy limited to 3.4 percent in 2010. The recovery is widely attributed to massive stimulus spending by governments and central banks to confront the 2008-2009 recession, as well as intervention by the International Monetary Fund. Participants are allowing themselves to go with the flow of reassuring headlines, like the OECD raising its global growth forecast for 2010 and 2011, instead of being consumed by all things negative, said Briefing.com analyst Patrick OHare. After a spurt on Asian exchanges in response to bargain hunting, European equities took flight. The London FTSE 100 index added 1.97 percent to close at 5,038.08 points while in Paris the CAC 40 rose 2.32 percent to reach 3,408.59. In Frankfurt the DAX gained 1.55 percent and finished at 5,758.02 points. Elsewhere there were gains of 2.15 percent in Milan, 1.25 percent on the Swiss Market Index, 0.42 percent in Madrid and 2.98 percent in Athens. On Wall Street share prices were also boosted by indications that the US recovery was firming. New orders for big-ticket US manufactured goods rose unexpectedly in April, govt data showed, underscoring a rebound in the manufacturing sector. New orders for manufactured durable goods items such as planes, cars, refrigerators and computers that could last at least three years increased 2.9 percent to 193.9 billion dollars, the Commerce Dept said in a report. This was the fourth increase in the last five months and followed a revised flat reading in March. Most economists had expected a 1.5 percent rise in April. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.53 percent to 10,096.95 points at mid-day while the tech-dominated Nasdaq had gained 1.08 percent to reach 2,234.93. The upbeat mood on Wednesday followed weeks of gloom prompted by fears the debt crisis in Europe and the tough austerity measures taken by governments there could snuff out growth and plunge the world back into recession. In its report Wednesday the OECD warned that rising debt and public deficit levels in Europe and overheating in emerging markets could endanger the global recovery. At Capital Economics analysts said the near-term outlook for the world economy was brighter than several months ago but predicted that a seemingly impressive rebound in 2010 is likely to give way to renewed weakness from 2011 as the reversal of fiscal stimulus again exposes the underlying fragilities left by the recession. The bond market meanwhile showed signs of tension Wednesday, with the yield on German and French 10-year sovereigns widening in response to a rebound in equities. Bond yields and prices move in opposite directions.