Japan, Germany Lead World Markets Higher
An improving economic outlook for Germany and promises of more monetary easing in Japan helped stock indexes in those countries lead world markets higher Friday.
In Japan, a government official indicated that the yen has further to fall, and its ongoing decline is expected to help big exporters like Sony. The Nikkei index surged 2.9 percent to 10,926.67, its highest close since April 30, 2010.
In Germany, business sentiment as measured by the Ifo index rose to its highest level since June, as executives said order backlogs are rising.
The Ifo report "nicely illustrates the green shoots in the German economy," said ING senior economist Carsten Brzeski in Brussels.
"Even if the current harsh winter weather might delay the blossoming somewhat, growth should return, leaving the contraction of the fourth quarter quickly behind."
Germany’s DAX rose 1.3 percent to 7,848.56 points, by far the strongest performer in Europe. France’s CAC-40 was up 0.7 percent to3,777.68.
But Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up only 0.1 percent, to 6,273.21, after official figures showed the U.K. economy contracted 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter. If it shrinks for another quarter, it would be back in a technical recession, defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.
The fourth quarter drop was worse than expected and shows the economy is struggling to make any lasting recovery.