Could the euro zone be on the turn? A new Reuters poll points to more optimism after a recent raft of above-forecast data - despite the chance of a 'Grexit' - while the Dax strives for a new 12,000 point record. David Pollard asks whether the optimism is overdone.
Frankfurt's Dax - on its longest streak of weekly gains since 1998. This, in fact, its ninth week. Europe is the feelgood factor. Two thirds of economists see a ''significant improvement'' after recent strong data, according to a Reuters poll. And - as the ECB completes its first week of sovereign bond buying - many see its QE programme working. In Brussels too, there were positive noises as Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras met European leaders. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ALEXIS TSIPRAS, SAYING: ''I'm very optimistic, I'm always optimistic, that we will find a solution." And there was some surpise in Vienna when - after a week or rising tension with Greece - visiting German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said this: (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE SAYING: "In spite of all the scepticism, Greece's development by the end of last year was better than laid out in the programme, so Greece is not a hopeless case." Schaeuble's boss, Angela Merkel, also had that Friday feeling when she spoke in Munich. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "The whole of Europe and especially Germany has better growth prospects than we had at the end of last year." Can it be that everything is rosier in the euro zone garden? Probably not - or at least not yet, says CMC Markets' Michael Hewson. US equities are overbought, he says - that's the main reason for cash driving into euro zone stocks. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) CMC MARKETS, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: ''I wouldn't go overboard on European optimism quite yet. Unemployment still remains very very high, and there still remains a significant structural reform programme to take place before we see any significant progress in Italy and France, where economic growth continues to remain weak.'' Traders in Frankfurt now have another record in their gun sights: 12,000 points for the index. Oddo Seydler head trader Oliver Roth thinks it's certainly attainable. But .... (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD TRADER AND STOCK MARKET STRATEGIST WITH ODDO SEYDLER BANK AG, OLIVER ROTH, SAYING: "But I believe that we have not been at a healthy level for a while .... We are clearly driven by the ECB's policy and the basics are not taken into account enough. Once reality hits, it will be all the more painful.'' The Reuters poll also shows one in four economists see Greece's departure from the euro zone as likely. A Grexit still one painful reality the euro zone and its markets could yet face.