FRANKFURT -- Total agony. That describes how bears felt Monday as they watched the bulls in euroland whoopin' it up on the first trading day under the new single currency. The
jumped 5% in Frankfurt, the
leapt 5.2% in Paris and the
catapulted 5.9% in Milan. Other Continental indices also rallied, while London stocks closed down slightly.
And bears might be in for more agony in coming days and weeks. Some pros think the explosion changed the technical outlook across Europe from mildly positive to extremely bullish. The improved technicals, combined with euro-phoria, a strong euro and vast liquidity, could boost markets an additional 5% to 10% in the next few weeks as bears give up and become buyers.
Strong demand was evident today, with markets holding up well despite weak earnings from
, which slid nearly 20% at one point. Those who wanted to book profits found plenty of buyers at firm prices.
Marcel Mussler, technical analyst at
Oliver Klemm Wertpapierhandels
in Frankfurt, has made some nice calls on these pages, but was one of many who, after the close, said the force of the surge came as a complete surprise.
Mussler, who ignores fundamentals and advises clients solely using technical analysis, is now is a raging bull after the Dax added 249 points Monday to close at 5252, breaking what he called major resistance at 5150 and opening a clear path to 5700.
"I did not believe we would break 5150," he said. "But we are now in a dynamic market, and I believe we will reach 5700 very quickly."
The next test would be Dax 6224, the high reached last summer.
Joerg Schreiweis, head of institutional sales at
in Frankfurt, also basked in the glory of Monday's gains. "This is tremendously bullish," he said.
Kirit Shah, chief market strategist at
in London, sees strong support under current levels, with any declines eagerly bought up by traders and investors who missed the big move.
"Missing a move like today's does hurt," he said. For those who stayed on the sidelines, "you are already down 5% on the benchmark on the first day of the year."
But Shah believes that euro or not, European stocks will need help from Wall Street to power much higher, at least in the near term. A break by the
above 9400 to set new highs should be a signal to aggressively buy European shares, he said.
But Shah and others see some of the problems that rocked the market last summer flaring up again later this year and weighing on stocks. For example, a strong euro against the dollar might be viewed with relief now, but at some point it will cut into the profits of European exporters. Deflation concerns could return again, and company earnings are vulnerable. Plus, problems in Japan, Brazil and Russia are still flickering in the background.
For that reason, Shah sees any Dow rally losing steam at around 9800. His advice if Dow 9800 is reached: "Sell the heck out of the market."
Paul O'Connor, equities strategist at
Credit Suisse First Boston
in London, was advising clients to buy in November and December and still believes the trend is up. But the market's wildly exuberant mood -- despite slowing European economies, crumbling corporate profits and the problems in Japan and Brazil -- has him a bit spooked. He described the market's disregard of those problems in recent weeks as "an eerie kind of calm."
But he conceded: "I find it a bit uncomfortable to talk bearish."