World stocks hit their highest level since mid-2015 on Thursday after strong Chinese data added to the optimism about global growth and inflation that has been driving markets since the start of the new year. David Pollard reports.
For fans of a big freeze, this is one place to be. Harbin in China attracts devotees of ice-swimming - it's good for the health, it's claimed. Elsewhere, things are warming up fast. At least for China's manufacturing ... Activity at close to a six-year high. And now new data shows services gaining at their fastest in nearly a year and a half. (53.4) Time for investors to dive back in .... (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "If the numbers are sustained, many investors will be caught on the hop and will be looking back and wondering why they didn't invest much earlier in the cycle." Japanese consumers are warming to their task too. A pick-up in spending giving services there their biggest boost in nearly a year. As the feelgood factor spreads .... (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, JAMES BEVAN, SAYING: "The Asian data have been uniformly strong, embracing not just China and Japan which have caught on the headlines, but also Korea and Taiwan and to a lesser extent Singapore. And this is very positive in terms of the outlook for the region, so long as the numbers can be sustained." Now firmly in 'risk on' mode, world stocks hit a one and a half year high after the Chinese data. Domestic consumption now seen driving demand. Meaning, the thinking goes, less dollar risk and less Fed risk at a time of greater fiscal spending. If - with Trump's inauguration in just two weeks - other risks still remain for the world's second largest economy Amid his protectionist rhetoric, global trade one area where things could still turn very chilly.