NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. markets rallied Tuesday morning, joining markets around the world, as investors looked beyond recession fears and scooped up stocks hit in the recent retreat.
Investors were also gearing up for start of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting on interest rates.
The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) jumped more than 240 points in the early going. The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) both jumped too.
Bargain hunters helped overseas markets advance Tuesday. Shares in Hong Kong surged 14%, recovering the previous session's losses. Japan's Nikkei advanced 6.4%. European stocks were mostly higher in morning trading.
Fed meeting: The Federal Reserve begins a two-day policy meeting Tuesday. Investors are widely expecting the central bank to cut its key short-term interest rate to 1% from the current 1.5% in response to the global economic crisis.
Companies: BP (BP), the second-largest oil company in Europe, reported an 83% surge in net profit for the third quarter, to $8.05 billion from $4.4 billion.
The world's largest appliance maker, Michigan-based Whirlpool (WHR, Fortune 500), reported a 7% decline in third-quarter profit, to $163 million or $2.15 per share, and said it would cut 5,000 workers by the end of 2009. This includes job cuts already announced this year, such as the 440 layoffs in Amana, Iowa.
Economy: On tap Tuesday is a report on October consumer confidence. The reading from the Conference Board, a private business research group, is due at 10 a.m. ET. According to a consensus of analysts from Briefing.com, the index is expected to fall to 52 from the prior month's 59.8.