European and Asian stocks rise on the first day of February, after January saw their worst month in years. But more fears still lurk of further economic weakness in China, as Laura Frykberg reports
The new month brought with it a slightly brighter outlook for Europe. The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose slightly at the start of trading. European investors no doubt breathed a collective sigh of relief, after stocks in January fell to their lowest monthly level in eight years. A wintry chill was still biting Germany's DAX and the Euro Stoxx 50 though - both fell by 0.3 percent. Analysts like Baader Bank's Robert Halver, are cautiously optimistic. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKET ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "I think the worst is over. But the situation remains volatile. We still have the euro sclerosis. What will the Britons do about EU membership? We still have a rather subdued global economy. And there are many uncertainties, including the price of oil." In Asia, February also began more positively. MSCI's Asia-Pacific shares closed slightly up, so did Japan's Nikkei. Gains spurred by the introduction of negative interest rates by the Bank of Japan. Jan Randolph is from Sovereign Risk Analysis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK ANALYSIS, JAN RANDOLPH SAYING: "Japan is an excess savings country. And money is invested around the region and further afield. And it was flooding back because of risk aversion. Adopting negative rates encourages money to flood back out and weaken the Yen and in the process aiding exporters." One of the drivers of January's market turmoil was China. To make New Year celebrations go with a bang - for investors at least - the government has pumped more than 200 billion dollars - into financial institutions.