Dec. 20 - A stock market rally stretched from Wall Street to Europe's main bourses as economic data on both sides of Atlantic provided some holiday cheer. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street is in a good mood, highlighted by the Dow back above 12,000. Stocks are up solidly after a report showed the biggest jump in new U.S. housing construction projects in a year and a half. Demand for rental apartments is driving growth in construction of multifamily dwellings and that is lifting the overall housing market from the doldrums. Residential construction has grown for two straight quarters. Meantime, European markets are enjoying only the second up day in seven sessions. Investors there are encouraged by a drop in Spanish government bond yields. The upswing is also being supported by positive data out of Germany. Robert Halver is a trader at Baader Bank in Frankfurt. SOUNDBITE: ROBERT HALVER, TRADER, BAADER BANK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The German consumer index is stable, even the German industrial sentiment is stable, we have no economic problem. Our main problem is the European crisis and I see still no chance to get a solution from the politicians." But for now, the bears on both sides of the Atlantic are taking a snow day, as the bulls arise from an early winter nap thanks to those better economic numbers. Conway Gittens, Reuters