March 6 - European stock markets rIse to their highest since the 2008 financial crisis, helped by signs the U.S. economy is improving and expectations of more pledges of support for growth from major central banks. Hayley Platt reports.
Highs around the globe - first the Dow, then Japan's Nikkie and now Germany's Dax, among others. European shares followed the trend after Wall Street's industrial index hit an all time high. No all time highs in Europe but certainly the best figures since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLIVER ROTH, CHIEF TRADER FOR CLOSE BROTHERS SEYDLER BANK AG, SAYING: "We have a very small volume here in Frankfurt, the trading volume, all time high Dow Jones gave us a push yesterday, maybe it's not on long term track but right now we are really kind of excited about the all-time high ." Signs the U.S. economy is improving and expectations from Europe's central banks gave (global) investors renewed confidence. The Dax rose by more than 1 percent, with the UK's FTSE 100, the Eurofirst 300 and France's CAC 40 all up too. Praefinium Partners, Alpesh Patel says euro zone leaders are also helping. SOUNDBITE: Alpesh Patel, Founding Principle, Praefinium Partners, saying (English): "The euro zone leaders have worked out that if you can keep debt borrowing cost at 350 year lows then you can have as much debt as you want because it's basically interest free and being rolled over." But few expect the boom to last in Europe. The prospect of a revived euro zone debt crisis after Italy's inconclusive election remains a worry says BGC's Michael Ingram. SOUNDBITE: Michael Ingram, Markets Analyst, BGC Partners, saying (English): "The European economy isn't looking any better this year than it was last year. If you look what happened last year in terms of market expectation, they were expecting a 40 percent earnings growth from Europe and it delivered something like minus six." Investors will now be watching the ECB and Bank of England. Many analysts expect the UK to indulge in more bond buying. And a rate cut in mainland Europe is also possible. The ECB is under pressure to do something about Europe's weak economy and restore confidence after Italy's election.