World stocks hovered around a six-year high on Friday as faith in an improving global economy and support from central banks drove markets towards a third straight month of gains.
The Nikkei in Tokyo notched up its best November since 2005 despite some late profit taking in Asia, as the yen, at a five-year low against the euro and a six-month low versus the dollar, boosted hopes for its big exporting firms.
European shares were near a 5-1/2 year high and heading for a seventh week in positive territory out of the last eight in a relaxed end to the month.
London's FTSE, Paris's CAC 40 and Frankfurt's Dax all inched up, while Madrid's IBEX outperformed with a rise of 0.5 percent after ratings agency Standard and Poor's upped its outlook on Spain.
The rating firm also nudged up troubled Cyprus's junk status rating but at the same time stripped the Netherlands of its prized AAA grade, blaming its worsening growth prospects. The bond market reaction, however, was muted. Spanish bonds marginally outperformed but even Dutch debt made ground despite the bad news.
After some higher-than-expected German and Spanish inflation numbers the previous day, there was little surprise when the wider euro zone reading came in slightly above forecast at a still-depressed mark of 0.9 percent.
Markets were caught out last month after a plunge to just 0.7 percent prompted the ECB to cut the bloc's interest rates but the signs of a rebound suggested there may be less drive for more action from Frankfurt in the coming months.
"The ECB will inevitably have to do quantitative easing, but two things need to happen first," said Neil Williams, chief economist at fund manager Hermes in London. "Constitutional change, that is easy, but also that Germany needs to smell deflation. And I fear this number will prove a bit of an unfortunate distraction."
With many in the U.S. extending Thanksgiving breaks into the weekend, trading was expected to be