European stocks follow their US and Asian peers higher and higher as the traditional end-of-year 'Santa' rally takes hold. Is it irrational in the current risk environment? Hayley Platt reports.
Santa scaling heady heights as he prepares to deliver gifts in Berlin. Stock markets have been touching highs of their own, enjoying a so-called Santa rally. On Thursday the S&P 500 posted its biggest daily rise since January - of last year. European stock markets enjoyed their best day in three years. Asian stocks have rallied too, after the Bank of Japan reinstated its commitment to quantitative easing. Could stocks be in for more of the same? Christian Schulz from Berenberg bank is cautiously optimistic about the outlook. SOUNDBITE: Christian Schulz, Berenberg Bank, saying (English): "There are some positive signs, Germany in particular has been showing some signs of stabilisation. We've got plenty of stimulus in the pipeline for next year, we've got the lower oil price, we've got the ECB printing printing money, we've got no more austerity to do. We've got the euro zone periphery growing quite nicely." 2015 won't be without risk. Greece is still one to watch, where an early general election is looking possible - the anti-austerity party Syriza a possible winner - an outcome which would see Greece's bailout as a possible loser. And Russia, where sanctions from the West and plunging oil prices are wreaking havoc on the rouble and the Russian economy. And with the dollar strengthening on the prospect of Fed tightening next year, some fear that the turbulence could spread throughout emerging markets. So is the current Santa surge pure folly? David Stubbs, global macro strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, says no. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) DAVID STUBBS, MARKET STRATEGIST, JPMORGAN ASSET MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "Equity markets are certainly fully valued, they've come a long way in recent years but ultimately if you look at Japan or Europe or the United States for potentially different reasons there's still reasons to be positive about each individual one." It could then, be a happy Christmas for some. But with a word of caution from others - who warn that when markets start looking too good, it can signal a time to sell.