WASHINGTON — Turnabouts in European and Asian economies, along with recent gains in the U.S., are raising hopes that the worldwide recession is drawing to a close. That's not to say the coast is clear.

WASHINGTON — Turnabouts in European and Asian economies, along with recent gains in the U.S., are raising hopes that the worldwide recession is drawing to a close. That's not to say the coast is clear.

The brightening outlook in Europe and Asia and the improvement in U.S. credit markets and indicators reflect heavy government spending. Many analysts question whether the top economies can sustain recoveries after stimulus measures and easy-credit policies have run their course — and in the absence of significant new consumer spending, especially among Americans. It will be difficult for other countries to pull out of recession until the U.S., still one quarter of the world economy, starts growing, he said.

After a frightening free-fall across Europe in late 2008, France and Germany, the continent's two largest economies, reported recently that they had grown slightly in the second quarter of 2009. China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea also have reported rebounds as government stimulus efforts across the globe have begun to show results.

Russia, among the hardest hit of major economies as oil prices slumped and many foreign investors fled the country, appeared to be stabilizing.