European markets higher as DAX breaks 11,000

In mid-morning trading the FTSE 100 is up 40 points, while European markets breeze to fresh highs. 

Frankfurt city
Source: Bloomberg

Reports of the death of the eurozone economy have been greatly exaggerated. GDP figures from across the currency union were much better than expected. Germany fulfilled its traditional role as the engine of growth, with a quarter-on-quarter improvement of 0.7%, more than double expectations.

France also conformed to type, with 0.1% growth steady for a second quarter, a veritable Gallic shrug of indifference. Having stormed back yesterday, stock markets across the continent moved higher, with the DAX touching the magic 11,000 level for the first time.

Even the CAC40 was on a roll, hitting its highest level since mid-2008. The engine appears to be running again, and European Central Bank quantitative easing should supercharge European markets yet further.

A three-week high for the FTSE 100 finds the index on the cusp of 6900 once again, as a general resurgence in mining shares comes despite hefty writedowns from Anglo American this morning. As a highly leveraged play on a global upturn, the mining sector is not for the faint-hearted, but monetary stimulus from China could reignite enthusiasm for commodities and lift them from their current doldrums.

Most Americans will already have one eye on their long weekend, given that Monday is Presidents Day, but we still have preliminary confidence data from the University of Michigan. This is expected to show a slight improvement, rising to 98.2, as it nears the 100 level for the first time since 2000. Futures are pointing to a continuation of gains, although late comers to the party should remember that recent Fridays have ended on a very weak note. 

Given the longer weekend, and the understandable desire not to hold too much risk with another Eurogroup meeting looming, we could see this pattern repeat itself.

Ahead of the open, we expect the Dow Jones to start 28 points higher, at 18,000.

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