Sept. 4 - Euro zone businesses had their best month in over two years in August as orders increased for the first time since mid-2011. Ivor Bennett looks at whether it's time to start investing in European equities.
Earlier in the week it was factories - now it's businesses having their best month for more than two years. August orders increased for the first time since mid-2011 - suggesting the euro zone's economy will grow this quarter. Even the new orders index was above the 50 mark which divides growth from contraction. That in particular will be welcome news for ECB policymakers meeting on Thursday. Christian Schulz is a senior economist at Berenberg Bank. (SOUNDBITE) (English): CHRISTIAN SCHULZ, SENIOR ECONOMIST, BERENBERG BANK, SAYING: "The PMIs are consistent with say 0.3% quarterly growth rates for the rest of the year. That puts an upside risk to the ECB's forecast of minus 0.6% growth for this year. They may have to revise more than just a little bit tomorrow and that of course raises the question what does that mean for the guidance of the ECB?" There are no champagne corks popping yet - the improvement is far too modest for that and France in particular is still lagging behind. Panmure Gordon's David Buik. (SOUNDBITE) (English): DAVID BUIK, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "Everybody says the major crisis in Europe is over. I don't believe that for one minute. I think Greece is a mess. I think Portugal's not a million miles behind. And I think the problems that Spain and Italy have are absolutely enormous." Spain's unemployment figures did show signs of improvement this week. But the jobs drought continues - Markit's figures show firms still aren't confident enough to start hiring. In fact they cut staff for the 20th month in a row and at a faster pace than in July.