Global shares rise on German growth, Greece optimism; oil rises
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stock markets worldwide rose on Friday on stronger-than-expected economic growth in Germany and optimism that Greece would reach a deal with its creditors, while oil prices gained on signs that excess supply may ebb.
Germany reported growth of 0.7 percent for the fourth quarter, more than double economists' expected 0.3 percent rate, pointing to a stronger 2015 for the euro zone's biggest economy.
The growth in Germany boosted the overall euro zone economy, which accelerated by 0.3 percent. Top European shares hit a seven-year high, while Germany's DAX .GDAXI index hit a record high. U.S. shares rose, with the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX index posting a record closing high. [ID:nL1N0VN269]
Greek equities .ATG rallied nearly 6 percent as shares of Greek banks surged on signs the country could reach a deal with creditors.
"Everyone has been so negative about Europe for so long, so good news is unusual," Katrina Dudley, portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton Investments in Short Hills, New Jersey, said, noting the impact of the German data.
A Greek government spokesman said the country will make every effort to reach a deal at Monday's meeting of euro zone finance ministers on how to transition to a new support program. Optimism regarding Ukraine also supported stocks in the wake of a ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and Russia.
"The risk is being taken off the table," Dudley said.
Oil rose above $60 a barrel for the first time this year, supported by signs that deeper industry spending cuts may curb excess supply. Brent crude LCOc1 settled up $2.24 at $61.52 per barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 settled up $1.57 at $52.78 per barrel. The rise in oil boosted U.S. energy shares. Continued...