U.S indexes are at record levels, the pan-European Eurofirst 300 just closed at its highest level in more than seven years and Japan's Nikkei is at a 15-year peak. This is a cause for celebration for many, but some investors are spooked by an underlying trend that has been sparked by a wave of global liquidity.
Over the past few months, many of the corporate America's' biggest names, including ExxonMobil and IBM, have decided to buy back their own shares
. And new data shows that the trend could be catching, with European and Japanese firms also looking to take advantage of the current era of ultra-cheap funding.
"We know about U.S. buybacks, it's been the case for a while....what has been less the case has been European buybacks. And we are getting news flow building up there," Antonin Jullier, global head of equity trading strategy at Citi, told CNBC Friday.
About $8 billion worth of buybacks have already been announced by a dozen European companies, including ABInbev and ASML, this year, according to Reuters. And statisticians at the news agency predict that this "appetite is likely to keep growing." This comes as the European Central Bank is about to inject 60 billion euros-a-month into the euro zone economy.
And it looks as though smaller business are following their larger cousins with buyback programs. Greggs - a British baked goods and savory pies company -- has been busy putting its free cash flow to work. Analysts at Citi have noticed that more and more European companies outside the euro zone have been issuing debt in the cheaper euro, contemplating a "new wave of European buybacks."