IN spite of unease about the future of political reform in Russia, military conflict in the former Yugoslav republic, and recession-linked economic woes in Western Europe, global stock markets continue to post solid gains.
The consensus among many financial watchers and economists is that - barring a worst-case scenario such as the collapse of the Yeltsin government in Moscow - prices on global markets should continue increasing slowly.
For this year through March 15, the German DAX index has jumped by 11 percent, according to Salomon Brothers; the French CAC 40 index has climbed by 6 percent; Britain's FTSE index has moved up by 2 percent. All of those indexes compare favorably with the Standard & Poor's 500 index in the United States, which has moved up 3 percent through the same period.
Another way of measuring gains in overseas markets is to look at selected global or regional stock indexes. Thus, the world index of Morgan Stanley Capital International - a weighted index that measures market gains in the 20 largest developed countries - is up 2.7 percent for the first two months of 1993, compared to a net decline of 4.7 percent for 1992 as a whole.
Morgan Stanley's North American index (comprising the US and Canada) is up 2.3 percent; the Pacific index (for Asia) is up 4.7 percent; even Europe, which has been somewhat of a stock market laggard compared with other regions, is up 1.4 percent.
"Global markets are performing fairly well," says a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman.
In recent weeks the mounting turmoil in Russia has triggered some negative reverberations in world financial markets. Nonetheless, commodities markets, where trading has been affected most significantly by events in Russia, appear to be settling down since President Yeltsin avoided impeachment by communist hard-liners.