World stock markets re­covered early losses yes­terday after Lowe’s, the second biggest U.S. home improvement chain, said first-quarter profit fell less than feared.

The report boosted hopes among investors that the worst of the U.S. recession is over and offset weak earnings news out of Asia, which had weighed on markets early in the day.

Standing out yesterday was India’s stock market, which vaulted more than 17 per cent higher, forcing trading to be halted for the day, amid euphoria over the Congress Party’s victory in national elections.

News that net profit at Lowe’s Cos. fell to 32 cents per share in the quarter, topping analysts’ forecast of 25 cents a share, helped sentiment after two of Japan’s leading companies, Panasonic and Mizuho Financial, reported colossal losses for the fiscal year.

Oil hovered around $57 a barrel in Europe as traders backed off last week’s push to above $60 amid signs of weak crude demand.