Jan. 3 - European markets continue into 2012 on a firm footing, but the debt crisis is still casting a shadow. Ciara Sutton reports.
An upbeat start to 2012 has continued in European markets with shares rising for a fourth session. Stocks opened up nearly 1 percent, after hitting a two-month high on Monday. And stronger than expected manufacturing data from China boosted mining stocks. The news also helped the DAX stay above 6,000 points - maintaining gains made on Monday. Robert Halver from Baader Bank in Frankfurt says the outlook for 2012 is bright. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROBERT HALVER FROM BAADER BANK, SAYING: "It's quite a nice opening of the new year of the stock exchange markets, definitively. We will not see a big recession in the world economy, definitively not. I see still no double dip in USA, we still have a soft landing in China and if the world economy is growing by 3 percent that's always good for Germany." But Europe's debt crisis continues to cloud the outlook. The euro edged slightly higher in early trade but remains under pressure over high sovereign debt levels. It clawed back from the decade-low against the yen, hit during Monday trade. All eyes will now be on the first euro zone meeting of 2012. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet on January 9th. Rabobank Strategist Jane Foley says the meeting will focus on restoring confidence in the markets. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JANE FOLEY, SENIOR FX STRATEGIST, RABOBANK "I think there will be a lot of positive rhetoric on Monday aimed at stirring up confidence in the markets, and on the ability of the politicians to work towards a solution." EU leaders will now be under intense pressure to find a solution to the crisis, and to finalise a new treaty. Analysts say seeking a way out of the debt crisis is now critical for the survival of the single currency heading in to 2012. Ciara Sutton, Reuters