Global Markets Rise amid Year-End Rally; Nikkei Hits Five-Year High
Global markets surged today as a year-end rally revved up on good news for stocks out of Japan and China, as well as an afterglow from Thursday’s report of reduced U.S. unemployment benefit claims. European stocks rose strongly after those markets were closed Dec. 25-26 for the Christmas holiday. European investors appeared to be switching preferences from bonds to stocks, as 10-year bond prices dipped but stock markets gained. By mid-session Germany’s DAX index had booked a record high, rising 0.8 percent to 9,563.20. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent to 6,743.50 and France’s CAC was up 1.0 percent to 4,265.48. The gains occurred despite a two-day rally in the euro that sent it briefly to its highest level since 2011 after a quote from Germany’s European Central Bank representative Jens Weidmann in the Bild newspaper that weak inflation alone is no reason to keep interest rates low.