EMERGING MARKETS-Stocks approach 8mth high, Turkey at new record
LONDON Dec 28 (Reuters) - Emerging stocks approached eight-month highs on Friday, with Turkish and South African stocks hitting new records as U.S. politicians held last-minute talks to avert automatic tax rises and spending cuts.
Riskier emerging markets have gained in recent weeks on greater optimism over the euro zone and expectations that U.S. politicians can head off a budget crisis.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet congressional leaders from both parties at the White House on Friday at 2000 GMT to revive efforts to get a deal that would stop $600 billion of fiscal tightening from taking effect in the new year.
The MSCI emerging stocks index rose towards its highest since early April and is on course to gain 15 percent this year, outstripping global markets.
Turkish stocks hit record highs for a third successive day. Turkey has been one of the world's best-performing stock markets this year, soaring more than 50 percent as investors see it as a better bet than many developed markets.
South African stocks also hit record highs for a second day, helped by resource and mining companies.
Polish stocks hit their highest since Aug 2011, and Romanian stocks hit seven-month highs for a third trading day.
Romanian stocks have gained 4 percent since last Friday, when Prime Minister Victor Ponta's new government won parliamentary backing, drawing a line under a period of political uncertainty that had raised doubts over Romania's IMF-led aid deal.
Emerging European currencies were steady, though the rouble was on course for its first annual gain since 2009.
"An elevated oil price will only serve to embolden those considering long rouble positions," said analysts at Tradition in a client note.