Global stocks hit record highs on Tuesday, and looked set for their longest bull run since 2003.
Economic recovery hopes fuelled by coronavirus vaccine developments continued to spur a rally in equities, with banks, energy companies and travel and leisure firms making strong gains in Europe.
Leading European indices were more muted, however. Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) closed 0.1% lower, but had traded mostly higher earlier in the day after prime minister Boris Johnson said he was "hopeful" lockdown restrictions could be eased in the coming weeks as Britain's vaccine rollout continues at pace. Daily reported infections fell below 10,000 for the first time since 2 October. The FTSE had surged 2.5% on Monday.
The Europe-wide Stoxx 600 (^STOXX) index closed down 0.1%. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) dipped 0.3%, and France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) closed flat. The DAX had hit an all-time high on Monday, while the CAC and the Stoxx 600 had reached their highest levels since the pandemic began.
"Markets are defending their gains today rather than making any great strides forward," said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx.
"The global reflation theme continued apace yesterday, and risk assets showed continued strength across multiple asset classes," added Deutsche Bank analyst Jim Reid.
"The MSCI World Index, which includes a range of developed world equities, rose for an 11th straight session, marking the longest winning streak for the index since January 2018."
The index touched a fresh high on Tuesday, and was trading 0.1% higher as trading finished in Europe. If it ends the day higher, it will mark the longest run since 2004.
It came after strong trading in Asia and elsewhere earlier in the session. The Nikkei in Japan (^N225) rose 1.3% to a three-decade high on better-than-expected GDP data, while MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan was up 0.6%.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.8%. Markets in mainland China were shut for the Lunar New Year holiday.
US stocks also touched record highs as trading got underway, before slipping back. The Dow was trading 0.1% higher, but the S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down 0.1% and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) down 0.4% as markets closed in Europe.
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