Europe's share markets bask in the glory of the NASDAQ reaching a 15-year high and record closes elsewhere - while Germany's IFO puts in a high of its own. David Pollard reports on a seemingly unstoppable rise in sentiment.
If there were an opposite of a perfect storm, could we be seeing it now? A happy conjunction of strong data - and an upsurge in share prices elsewhere pushing European equities ever higher. First up: Germany's IFO. One of Europe's most-watched sentiment indicators has posted its highest current reading in nearly a year. Boosting hopes of strong growth for Europe's powerhouse economy. Also at play: the ECB, says JP Morgan's Kerry Craig. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) KERRY CRAIG, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST AT JP MORGAN SAYING: ''The European story is much, much more about what the European Central Bank is doing. The fact they're buying up all these bonds, forcing yields into negative territory and pushing people into riskier assets. The European market across the board, across the countries, is up roughly 20 per cent year on year, and a lot of that has happened in the first quarter of this year.'' Next on the list of positives: corporate results. Focus turned to top risers including Electrolux - up nearly seven per cent on better than expected earnings. And Renault - its shares up nearly 4 per cent in early trading on a sharp jump in revenues. Astra Zeneca, though, down on a slide in sales - but talking up new deals with Celgene and Innate Pharma - those, it says, expected to boost its cancer drug offer. Sentiment was already high prior to Europe's opening. The MSCI All-Country World index hit a lifetime peak. And - on a day when one of its star listings, Apple, began selling the iWatch - traders were celebrating a return of the NASDAQ to record territory. The US tech index pushed above a high set at the peak of the dotcom boom - just before the dotcom bubble burst. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) KERRY CRAIG, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST AT JP MORGAN SAYING: ''I think the questions are now are the parallels between now and what we saw in 2000. Yes, the NASDAQ has hit a new nominal high, but is still well off in adjusted terms, adjusted for inflation. And more importantly, those valuations are nowhere near the extremes we saw back in 2000.'' So are worries about high valuations overdone? (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) KERRY CRAIG, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST AT JP MORGAN SAYING: ''Credit sector's improving, we're seeing consumer confidence levels at very high levels, retail spending's at a very good level, those all feed through to say the economy is actually getting better, and therefore markets should continue to perform quite well, particularly those cyclical sectors.'' The IFO data, though, slightly more pessimistic about the outlook over six moths. Top of the worry list there for most traders: geopolitical conflicts like Ukraine - and Greece.