All three major share indexes in the US hit record highs last night, on the back of rising oil prices and a strong performance from some leading retailers.

Both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 rose by around half a percent yesterday, while the Dow Jones was up by more than 0.6% to bring all three to fresh highs on the same day – the first time this has happened since 1999.

Markets were buoyed by a 4% rise in the price of oil, which was prompted by suggestions from Saudi Arabia's energy minister that suppliers should cut production to rebalance global prices.

Meanwhile, shares in retailers including Macy's, Kohl's and Nordstrom all rose in trade on the back of better-than-expected quarterly results from the sector.

Some are now expressing concern about the high valuations some US listed companies now have, however, with firms on the S&P now listed at around 17 times their expected profit.

Earlier, Asian stocks inched up off the back off the rise on Wall St, with mainland shares holding on to gains on hopes weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data would spur policy easing.