World markets cautiously hopeful on US earnings

2012-01-11 12:40

London – World markets mostly rose on hopes that the US economic recovery will gather pace.

Stocks have been largely buoyant since US jobs data last week showed an increase in the rate of hiring, suggesting that American consumer spending – one of the drivers of world economic growth – could recover faster than expected.

In Europe, however, the outlook is dark. Though Germany’s economy expanded 3% in 2011, new figures today implied it contracted slightly in the fourth quarter.

Earlier figures showed industrial production and retail sales had fallen in recent months, indications that even Europe’s largest economy is feeling the pinch of the debt crisis.

Those concerns were mostly offset today by hopes that an improving US economy would translate into solid fourth-quarter profits, which companies will announce over the next few weeks.

One positive early sign came from aluminum maker Alcoa – considered an economic bellwether because so many companies use its products – which said late Monday that its fourth-quarter revenue far outpaced analysts’ projections.

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