European share markets chase the new record highs set by their Asian counterparts, with VW's leadership crisis and Unilever in focus. Hayley Platt reports.
Investors pushing global stocks higher. Led by renewed strength in Asia. European stocks following, with the FTSE 100 touching a new 14-year high before easing back. Consumer goods firm Unilever was a big riser after reporting better-than-expected sales. Brewer SABMiller also performed well. And carmakers gained ground, boosted by Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain all posting a surge in registrations last month. Although some in the markets were keeping a wary eye on VW - it was reported to be holding a crisis meeting to resolve its leadership struggles. Commerzbank's Peter Dixon. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER DIXON, GLOBAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "I think the point about European equities is that at the moment they're being driven primarily by the liquidity which is being made available by central banks, notably the ECB. I think that's in place for some time to come, so I rather expect we've got more upside for equities even though it's questionable whether valuations justify further ongoing rises." The news wasn't all good though. Shares in BAE Systems dropped 3.6 percent. While stocks in drinks group Diageo fell after reporting weaker sales. And some sceptics warning that what goes up, can come down. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER DIXON, GLOBAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "The underlying fundamentals of the equity market are beginning to look stretched but that's normally what happens when you've got central banks acting in such as aggressive fashion as they are now.'' Few see a market tumble in the short term. Others though talk of Greece as still, potentially, the variable that might yet spoil the party mood.