World stocks smash new records as New Year party rolls on


London (Reuters): World stocks hit fresh highs on Wednesday with European markets joining the party as early indications suggest 2018 will be another year of synchronized global growth led by a robust European economy.

After its biggest one-day gain in more than two weeks on Tuesday, and in the wake of its best year since 2009 in 2017, MSCI’s index of global stocks .MIWD00000PUS, which tracks shares in 47 countries, pushed on to new record highs.

The pan-European stock index was 0.2 percent higher following gains for their Asian and U.S. counterparts overnight as manufacturing surveys pointed to a strong start for the European economy. U.S. stock futures ESc1 suggested another higher open on Wednesday.

The single currency EUR= was holding near a four-month high of $1.2081 hit on Tuesday.

“Investors have woken up in the new year and looked forward to another firm year for global growth with very muted downside risk,” said Investec economist Philip Shaw. But he warned against reading too much into the first two trading days of the new year.

“The converse is the sell-off in bond markets: the idea that inflation pressures may be firmer than expected and central banks could take a slightly more aggressive approach than previously thought,” Shaw added.

ECB rate-setter Ewald Nowotny told a German newspaper that the European Central Bank may end its stimulus program this year if the euro zone economy continues to grow strongly.

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