Global stocks rise on German backing for ECB bond action

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:30pm EDT
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global shares and the dollar advanced on Friday as apparent support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel for European Central Bank intervention to calm the euro zone's debt troubles lifted investor sentiment for a second day.

A record high for Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) shares boosted U.S. stocks, and traders eyed a breakout to a new four-year peak, just half a percentage point away on the benchmark S&P 500.

The CBOE VIX volatility index , seen as a gauge of investor angst on Wall Street, plumbed a five-year low in a probable sign that investors see little risk on the horizon.

A key European index hit a 13-month high on speculation euro zone policymakers might be closer to resolving their differences and working closely to tackle the more than two-year-old debt crisis.

In another indication of changing perceptions in Europe, a growing number of economists have concluded that Greece's fate lies inside the euro zone rather than outside, as previously thought, according to a Reuters poll.

Merkel voiced support for ECB President Mario Draghi's crisis-fighting strategy on Thursday and urged her European partners to move swiftly toward a closer integration of fiscal policies, saying time was running short.

Her comments, made in Ottawa, came just before markets closed in Europe on Thursday, and provided an extra boost on Friday.

"It's all about Europe and Merkel's comments coming out, which appeared to support Draghi," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont. "Unless the German constitutional court does something outrageous, we may be moving in the right direction here - at least in the short term."   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid