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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Nikkei gains on euro zone bailout hopes

    (Reuters) - The Nikkei stock average rose on Wednesday after a media report raised expectations that Europe will act to strengthen the euro zone's rescue fund, though skepticism about whether it can put such a bold step into practice limited further gains.

    The market also lacked momentum on caution about a mixed batch of U.S. earnings after Apple (AAPL.O) reported a rare miss in quarterly results, with sales of its flagship iPhone falling short of Wall Street expectations.

    The Nikkei finance/markets/index?symbol=jp%21n225">.N225 was up 0.6 percent at 8,789.83 by the lunch break, while the broader Topix index .TOPX gained 0.3 percent to 754.04. Trade was extremely light, with turnover at 398 billion yen at midday, just 4 percent above the same time on Tuesday, when it hit the lowest level since December.

    Wall Street rallied in its last hour of trade on Tuesday after Britain's Guardian newspaper said France and Germany will increase the euro zone's rescue fund to 2 trillion euros as part of a plan to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.

    A senior euro zone source told Reuters there had been no mention of such a deal and many market players doubt whether such a huge increase is immediately possible given how policymakers have had a tough time getting the current 440 billion euro bailout scheme ratified in the euro bloc.

    "If they can boost the bailout fund to 2 trillion euro, that would be a perfect score markets have been looking for. But the reality is that will be difficult to pull off," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

    While the news prompted short position holders to cover their positions, many investors are still not excited, as manifested in low trading volume, and they preferred to wait until what European leaders will do at their summit on Sunday.

    "I'm sure there will be a lot of headlines on the euro zone plan toward the summit and speculators will jump on them, swinging the market this way or that. But real money investors are waiting for the summit. That's why volume is slow," said Mitsubishi's Fujito.

    Apple's (AAPL.O) latest results undermined tech shares, although an upbeat earning forecast from Intel Corp (INTC.O) helped counter the impact.

    Ibiden (4062.T), a major supplier of integrated circuit packages to the U.S. firm, rose 2.9 percent to 1,896 yen.

    Olympus (7733.T) remained the most actively traded share on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's main board for the fourth day in a row as the company suffers from allegations by its former CEO that it made improper M&A fee payments.

    Olympus fell 3.2 percent to 1,372 yen, though it has so far managed to stay above Tuesday's 2- year low of 1,281 yen.

    Some players were short-selling the stock aggressively while there were bids from investors who saw value in the company's strength in its endoscope business.

    Still, doubts about the company's governance is making the stock untouchable for many investors.

    "Foreign investors had snatched up the shares after they hired a foreign CEO and they haven't offloaded their holdings yet," said a trader at a Japanese firm.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    Euro flat on doubts over EU delivering crisis plan

    (Reuters) - The euro was little changed against the dollar and yen on Wednesday due to nagging doubts that European leaders will take aggressive steps at a summit this weekend to resolve the region's debt crisis.

    Officials dismissed a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Tuesday that France and Germany had agreed to a deal enlarging the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), while French President Nicolas Sarkozy said talks to boost the bailout fund have stalled. But investors still clung to the newspaper report as a reason to pare back bets against the euro.

    Optimism that a definitive plan would be in place by a European Union summit on Sunday had sparked a rally in the euro last week from 8-1/2-month lows. Germany later tamped down enthusiasm by saying the summit would not provide an ultimate solution to the debt crisis.

    "At the end of the day, the market is nervous, waiting to see anything substantial coming out of the summit," said Tom Fitzpatrick, chief technical strategist at CitiFX in New York. "We are getting to a point that there have been so many false promises so they really need to deliver something big."

    The euro was last up 0.09 percent at $1.37480 after bouncing between $1.3735 and $1.3870 on trading platform EBS. It touched a one-month high of $1.39148 on Monday.

    Wavering confidence about a crisis plan has increased the euro's volatility against the dollar this week. The one-month euro/dollar volatility index ended flat on Wednesday but is up 2.4 percent so far on the week.

    The Guardian, citing senior European Union diplomats, said the euro zone would endorse a five-fold increase in the 440 billion euro bailout fund.

    But a senior euro zone source told Reuters there had been no mention of such a deal. A spokesman for the German Finance Ministry said the bailout fund will not be raised beyond the 440 billion euros already approved nor will Germany's participation rise beyond 211 billion euros.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked down expectations of a deal for a "bazooka" solution coming out of the summit, adding that past errors will not be solved in one stroke.

    Germany, the euro zone's strongest economy, has been reluctant to back aggressive measures to contain the crisis due to worries it has already overextended itself as its economy is slowing.


    As traders struggle to position for this weekend's EU summit, analysts said there are positive factors for the euro.

    Chris Turner, FX strategist at ING, said demand to cover short positions in the euro remained high given that the average entry level of such positions in September was around $1.37. The euro's rally above $1.39 earlier this week put investors at risk of a loss on those positions.

    Going into the summit, Turner said, the euro may rally toward $1.40 if more mainstream press reports suggest EU leaders are nearing agreement to take decisive actions.

    The euro briefly extended gains against the dollar after data showing U.S. housing starts in September topped expectations boosted the appetite for risk.

    Sovereign demand from the Middle East and Asia likely also boosted the euro, traders said, although some doubted it was the dominant driver behind gains.

    Against the yen, the euro was up 0.09 percent to 105.61 yen, paring earlier gains.

    The single European currency rose 0.5 percent against the Swiss franc to 1.2418 francs, having hit 1.2475 on EBS, the highest level in five months, on persistent, though unconfirmed, market talk of the Swiss National Bank raising the euro/Swiss target rate from 1.20 francs.

    Investors shrugged off a double-notch downgrade of Spain's debt rating.

    The dollar index was flat at 77.112, while the greenback was flat against the yen at 76.80 yen.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Gold edges up on arbitrage buying

    (Reuters) - Gold prices rebounded on Friday, boosted by arbitrage buying interest from Shanghai market, but gains could be limited as uncertainty remains on whether European policymakers would agree on a definitive solution to euro zone's debt crisis.

    Deep division among European leaders on strengthening the bloc's rescue fund has dampened hopes that Europe was close to finding a solution, rattling commodities and sending gold down more than 1 percent in the previous session.

    Conflicting voices from the euro zone over the past few days have directed the ups and downs of the financial market, and participants are now eyeing the European Union summit this Sunday for further trading cues.

    The sharp price drop in the previous session has provided an opportunity for arbitrage trading from Shanghai market, traders said. The most-active Shanghai gold futures contract traded around 336 yuan a gram, or $1,638 an ounce, at a premium of $13 over spot gold prices.

    "There was quite some buying from Shanghai after market opened there," said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong.

    "Prices appear to be consolidating within the range of $1,550 and $1,700."

    Spot gold gained 0.4 percent $1,625.12 an ounce by 0253 GMT, but was headed for a drop of 3.2 percent from a week earlier, its biggest weekly decline in nearly a month.

    U.S. gold rose as much as 1.1 percent to $1,630.9, before easing to $1,626.90, on course for a 3.3 percent weekly decline.

    Technical analysis suggested spot gold could rebound to $1,650 during the day, said Reuters market analyst Wang Tao.


    The price dip to near $1,600 in the previous session triggered some physical buying, dealers said.

    "There was a fair bit of buying but nothing frantic," said a Singapore-based dealer. "Perhaps the market is expecting a lower price to come."

    Physical demand in Asia, mainly India and China, has entered its traditional peak season of the year, but such demand alone is unlikely to lift prices above the current range.

    "The main drivers behind prices still remain in the ETF holdings, hedge funds and COMEX market," said the dealer.

    Holdings in the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, have remained constant at 1,227.511 tonnes for the past five sessions, down a modest 4.4 tonnes from the end of September.

    And holdings of the world's largest silver-backed exchange-traded fund, iShares Silver Trust, edged lower from the previous session to 9,874.05 tonnes, lowest in nearly a month, as silver prices retreated 23 percent from a month earlier.

    Spot silver inched up half a percent to $30.65, on course for a weekly decline of 4.7 percent, its biggest one-week fall in a month.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Risk rally hammers dollar, yen hits record high

    (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar fell broadly on Friday and hit a record low against the yen on hopes Europe was closer to solving its debt crisis and talk the Federal Reserve may take new measures to boost growth.

    France and Germany said in a joint statement that European leaders would discuss a solution to the crisis on Sunday, but no decisions would be adopted before a second meeting to be held by Wednesday at the latest.

    Optimism European leaders will take more measures to contain the crisis kept investor appetite for risk alive, sending U.S. stocks sharply higher and dampening demand for the safe-haven greenback.

    Adding to losses in the dollar, Fed Board Governor Daniel Tarullo said Thursday there is need for additional stimulus measures and the Fed should consider buying more mortgage bonds to boost the weak housing sector and economy. Fed easing is seen negative for the dollar because it lowers U.S. yields.

    "It is very much a dollar negative environment. Risk is on," said Brian Dolan, chief currency strategist at in Bedminster, New Jersey.

    Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar last traded down 0.8 percent at 76.357, having hit a low of 76.249, the lowest level since mid-September.

    Paresh Upadhyaya, head of Americas G10 FX strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, said the currency market followed equity prices.

    The U.S. dollar has shown a strong inverse relationship with stocks in recent trading. The 25-day correlation between the dollar index and the Standard & Poor's 500 Index hit negative 0.927 on Friday.

    The euro rose 0.7 percent to $1.3876, having hit $1.3900 on Reuters data and recovering from a low of $1.3703.

    "The market is giving the benefit of the doubt that they are going to come up with some sort of a meaningful stop gap measure in Europe," said Boris Schlossberg, director of currency research at GFT in New York.

    But Bank of America's Upadhyaya said: "whatever might be announced, I don't think it would be enough to satisfy the markets." He expects the euro/dollar to decline to $1.30 by the end of the year.

    The euro dropped 0.3 percent to 105.58 yen. It also slipped 0.3 percent against sterling and lost 0.6 percent versus the Swiss francs.


    The dollar fell as low as 75.78 yen on trading platform EBS, surpassing its previous record low of 75.941 set in August, bringing back into focus the threat of official intervention to weaken the Japanese currency.

    Traders reported initial large selling of dollars from a U.K. clearer and macro funds, and losses accelerated after the pair broke through a series of stops around 76.30 and 75.90.

    It last traded down 0.9 percent at 76.18 yen, coming off lows on reported buying from Japanese banks at the 76.00 level. At current levels, it was on pace for its biggest daily fall since August 26.

    Talk that Japanese authorities may follow the footsteps of the Swiss National Bank in putting a floor in dollar/yen had buoyed the currency pair in recent sessions, but investors resumed yen buying after market speculation failed to materialize.

    "I do think we are increasingly vulnerable to (Bank of Japan) interference. Irrespective of whether it's going to be effective or not, they're going to come in at 75," said GFT's Schlossberg.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Banks raise Greek haircut offer to 40 percent in talks

    (Reuters) - Bankers have offered to stretch the voluntary haircut on Greek debt to 40 percent, while politicians demand the private sector agree to writedowns of at least 50 percent, senior German banking source said on Sunday.

    Politicians, including German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble have asked private creditors to Greece to accept steeper writedowns on their holdings than the 21 percent losses agreed last July.

    Politicians and bankers are still wrangling over how to restructure Greek debt as part of negotiations to reform the common currency.

    EU officials have also demanded that banks prop up their capital cushions to meet a core tier one capital ratio of 9 percent, in a bid to make the financial system more able to withstand a restructuring of Greek debt.

    Banks are seen needing just under 100 billion euros with the bulk required by banks in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

    Big name banks caught in the crossfire will have to raise less than they feared two weeks ago, and should be able to raise it privately, through existing shareholders or sovereign funds, bankers and analysts said.

    To meet the more stringent capital requirements, even large lenders like Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) are being asked to bulk up their capital position.

    Deutsche needs an additional 2 billion euros which it can raise via retained earnings, shedding risk weighted assets, and via a small capital increase if needed, the senior German banking source, who declined to be named, said on Sunday.

    The private sector is still striving to reach a deal on Greek debt writedowns by Sunday, another source said.

    In July, banks and insurers agreed to contribute 50 billion euros ($69 billion) to reducing Greece's debt via a debt buyback and swap agreement, which equated to a 21 percent writedown. That is now seen as insufficient to make Athens' debt sustainable.

    Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) analysts last week outlined a way for banks to contribute a 40 percent "haircut" on Greek sovereign debt without substantially changing the terms of July's debt-relief deal.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Gold inches up on hopes for Europe debt deal

    (Reuters) - Spot gold prices edged higher on Monday, after European leaders moved closer to a concrete plan to solve euro zone's debt crisis during a weekend meeting, lifting sentiment in commodities and equities.


    Spot gold edged up 0.2 percent to $1,642.99 an ounce by 0022 GMT, after losing more than 2 percent last week.

    U.S. gold gained half a percent to $1,645.

    European Union leaders made some progress toward a strategy to fight the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis on Sunday, but the final decision was deferred until a second summit on Wednesday.

    Money managers, including hedge funds and other large speculators, slashed their bullish bets in gold futures and options, as the price of bullion fell on a lack of safe-haven buying.

    Holdings of the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, SPDR Gold Trust, remained unchanged, while holdings of iShares Silver Trust edged lower from the previous session.


    The euro held its ground against the dollar early in Asia on Monday with markets still clinging to hopes that European policy-makers were moving a step closer to resolving the region's debt crisis.

    The S&P 500 posted its third straight week of gains on Friday, lifted by optimism before this weekend's summit of European leaders and strong earnings from blue-chip stocks.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Euro slips but still supported ahead of EU summit

    (Reuters) - The euro edged lower on Tuesday but still held near a six-week high hit the previous day, supported by market expectations for European leaders to come up with broad measures to contain the region's debt crisis at a summit on Wednesday.

    European leaders had neared a deal over the weekend on bank recapitalization, and euro zone officials have said that France and Germany were close to agreement on how to leverage a euro zone rescue fund to stop bond market contagion.

    Hopes that euro zone leaders would soon decide on a framework to ease the debt crisis have given a boost to risky assets and the euro over the past couple of days.

    "Market players seem to be closing out positions, which had been betting on a rise in risk aversion. It seems like the unwinding of such bets rather than aggressive risk-taking," said Koji Fukaya, director of global foreign exchange research at Credit Suisse Securities in Tokyo.

    The euro appears to be getting support from such position unwinding, Fukaya said, adding that the euro may sag toward $1.35 or so once such short-covering runs out of steam.

    The euro dipped 0.2 percent to $1.3901, hovering near a six-week high of $1.3957 hit on Monday on trading platform EBS.

    Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission released last week shows that currency speculators still held a large net short position in the euro of 77,720 contracts in the week that ended on October 18.

    The euro faces resistance near $1.3989, its 200-week moving average, with additional resistance near $1.4040, which is roughly a 50 percent retracement of the single currency's May to October decline.

    On the downside, there was talk of stop-loss euro offers at levels around $1.3750.


    The single currency's recent rally has weighed on the dollar. The dollar index, which measures the dollar's value against a basket of currencies, stood at 76.176, near a six-week low of 75.985 hit this week.

    The dollar held steady against the yen at 76.10 yen, hovering near a record low of 75.78 yen hit late last week on EBS.

    Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi on Tuesday kept up his warning to markets about pushing up the yen too much, saying he was ready to take firm steps if the currency's appreciation becomes excessive.

    One factor that has helped support the yen this year is a narrowing of yield spreads between Japanese debt and their U.S. and European counterparts, which has made overseas bond investment less attractive to Japanese investors.

    "There has been a dearth of (capital) outflows from Japan," said Fukaya at Credit Suisse, adding that institutional investors such as Japanese life insurers seem unlikely to aggressively step up their overseas investment at this juncture.

    Indeed, Japanese life insurers have sounded cautious about investing in foreign bonds. For example, Sumitomo Life recently said foreign debt has become unattractive after sharp drops in yields, while Asahi Mutual Life Insurance said it plans to cut its investment in foreign bonds in the six months to next March.

    Callum Henderson, global head of FX research with Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore, said his bank's forecast was for the dollar to stand at around 76 yen at the end of the year, little changed from its current level.

    "It will only start trending higher when the market looks for tightening by the Fed, and that isn't going to happen for a long time," Henderson said, referring to dollar/yen.

    U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers have recently stepped up their debate over how far the Fed should go to support an anemic recovery, with some doves calling for fresh monetary stimulus.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    Euro zone strikes deal on 2nd Greek package, EFSF

    (Reuters) - Euro zone leaders struck a deal with private banks and insurers on Thursday for them to accept a 50 percent loss on their Greek government bonds under a plan to lower Greece's debt burden and try to contain the two-year-old euro zone crisis.

    The agreement was reached after more than eight hours of hard-nosed negotiations involving bankers, heads of state, central bankers and the International Monetary Fund. It aims to draw a line under spiraling debt problems that have threatened to unravel the European single currency project.

    Under the deal, the private sector agreed to voluntarily accept a nominal 50 percent cut in its bond investments to reduce Greece's debt burden by 100 billion euros, cutting its debts to 120 percent of GDP by 2020, from 160 percent now.

    At the same time, the euro zone will offer "credit enhancements" or sweetners to the private sector totaling 30 billion euros. The aim is to complete negotiations on the package by the end of the year, so Greece has a full, second financial aid program in place before 2012.

    The value of that package, EU sources said, would be 130 billion euros -- up from 109 billion euros when a deal was last struck in July, an agreement that subsequently unraveled.

    "The summit allowed us to adopt the components of a global response, of an ambitious response, of a credible response to the crisis that is sweeping across the euro zone," French President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters afterwards.

    As well as the deal on deeper private sector participation in Greece -- which emerged after Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel engaged in the negotiations with bankers -- euro zone leaders also agreed to scale up the European Financial Stability Facility, their 440 billion euro ($600 billion) bailout fund set up last year.

    The fund has already been used to provide help to Ireland, Portugal and Greece, leaving around 290 billion euros available. Around 250 billion of that will be leveraged 4-5 times, producing a headline figure of around 1.0 trillion euros, which will be deployed in a variety of ways.

    Leaders hope that will be enough to stave off any worsening of the debt problems in Italy and Spain, the region's third and fourth largest economies respectively.

    Riskier assets across the board rallied in Asia, with stocks outside Japan up nearly three percent at 0600 GMT (2 a.m. EDT) in response to the agreement. The euro hit a seven-week high.

    Earlier, U.S. stocks rallied after news emerged of the intention to boost the power of the EFSF fund.

    The EFSF will be leveraged in two ways, either by offering insurance, or first-loss guarantees, to purchasers of euro zone debt in the primary market, or via a special purpose investment vehicle that will be set up in the coming weeks and which is aimed at attracting investment from China and Brazil.

    The methods could be combined, giving the EFSF greater flexibility, the euro zone leaders said.

    "The leverage could be up to one trillion (euros) under certain assumptions about market conditions and investors' responsiveness in view of economic policies," said Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council.

    "There is nothing secret in all this, it is not easy to explain but we are going to more with our available money, it is not that spectacular. Banks have been doing this for centuries, it has been their core business, with certain limits."


    Japan and Canada welcomed the euro zone agreement. China's official Xinhua news agency said the outcome was "positive but filled with difficulties."

    As with the July 21 agreement, which quickly broke down when it became difficult to secure sufficient private sector involvement and market conditions rapidly worsened, the concern is that Thursday's deal will only work if the fine print can be promptly agreed with the private sector, represented by the Institute of International Finance.

    Charles Dallara, the managing director of the IIF, said those he represented were committed to making the deal work.

    "On behalf of the private investor community, the IIF agrees to work with Greece, euro area authorities and the IMF to develop a concrete voluntary agreement on the firm basis of a nominal discount of 50 percent on notional Greek debt held by private investors with the support of a 30 billion euro official ... package," he said in a statement.

    "The specific terms and conditions of the voluntary PSI (private sector involvement) will be agreed by all relevant parties in the coming period and implemented with immediacy and force. The structure of the new Greek claims will need to be based on terms and conditions that ensure (net present value)loss for investors fully consistent with a voluntary agreement."

    Euro zone leaders will be hoping the agreement, which will also be accompanied by a recapitalization of the European banking sector by around 106 billion euros, will finally draw a line under a crisis that has roiled financial markets and threatened to tear apart the euro single currency project.

    "While the headlines look good, the devil is in the details," said Damien Boey, equity strategist at Credit Swisse in Sydney.

    "It's great news that they've managed to increase the bail-out fund to 1 trillion euros plus agree on some sort of haircut arrangement for the private investors in Greek debt.

    "The problem is, we don't actually know how they are planning to increase the bail-out fund size from 440 billion euros to a trillion. On top of that, there are some questions as to whether one trillion euros in itself is enough."

    Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said the final details on the Greek package, which follows a program of 110 billion euros of loans granted to the country last year, would only be worked out by year-end.

    And EU finance ministers are not expected to agree on the nitty-gritty elements of how the scaled up EFSF will work until some time in November, with the exact date not fixed.

    As part of efforts to attract investors into the special purpose vehicle attached to the EFSF, Sarkozy said he would talk to Chinese President Hu Jintao in the coming days. Beijing has so far been a big buyer of bonds issued by the EFSF, which is triple-A rated by credit agencies.


    As well as the three-way package to strengthen their crisis fighting powers and try to resolve the situation in Greece, euro zone leaders called on Italy to take more rapid action on pension reforms and other structural measures to try to avoid the economy heading the same way as Greece.

    Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised to raise the retirement age to 67 by 2026, and pursue other adjustments to the country's economic model, steps the EU praised but said would only be positive if they were implemented.

    "The key is implementation. This is the key. It is not enough to make commitments, it is necessary now to check if they are really implementing," said Barroso.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Post Wall Street rallies on euro zone deal

    (Reuters) - Stocks rallied in early trading on Thursday after European leaders agreed to boost the region's bailout fund and struck a deal with banks and insurers to accept 50 percent losses on Greek bonds.

    The S&P 500 rose more than 2 percent, breaking out of a trading range of around 1,230-1,250. The broad index has been struggling to push past the levels for weeks as uncertainties over Europe persisted.

    Reached after more than eight hours of hard-nosed talks between European heads of state, the International Monetary Fund and bankers, the deal also foresees a recapitalization of hard-hit European lenders and a leveraging of the bloc's rescue fund to give it firepower of 1.0 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion).

    "We are rallying today because the active players, mostly hedge fund managers and tactical investors, have been very neutral to even short until now. The market is up a lot, but they are rushing into getting long because they are capitulating," said James Dailey, portfolio manager of TEAM Asset Strategy Fund in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

    "Investors will now focus on data for November, which is expected to get weak, and possibly worse in December. That could bring up a lot of questions and predictions on the Fed move."

    The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 232.57 points, or 1.96 percent, at 12,101.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 30.20 points, or 2.43 percent, at 1,272.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index shot up 64.07 points, or 2.42 percent, at 2,714.74.

    Exxon Mobil Corp was up 0.7 percent to $81.64 after the U.S. oil and gas major said profit rose 41 percent in the third quarter, helped by gains in crude oil prices and higher refining margins.

    Dow Chemical Co rose 5 percent at $28.22, even as it narrowly missed quarterly profit expectations.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2011


    Global stocks at 3-month highs, euro underperforms

    (Reuters) - Global stocks advanced and headed for their best week in over two years Friday, bolstered by EU leaders' efforts to contain the euro zone debt crisis which have stoked appetite for riskier assets, although the euro lagged the rally.

    The single currency came under slight pressure after yields at the sale of 10-year Italian bonds hit a euro-era high above 6 percent. Despite higher yields, demand was lower than previous auctions, underlining how cautious investors are on peripheral debt despite the EU rescue deal and pledges by Italy to reform.

    With investors for the time being shrugging off the lack of detail in Thursday's anti-crisis measures in Europe, the region's shares extended the previous session's sharp rally.

    The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of leading European shares was up 0.15 percent at 1,021.63 points in early trade. The index is up 11 percent this month and is on track for its biggest monthly rise since April 2009.

    Solid third-quarter sales from French car maker Renault (RENA.PA) also lifted the broader index. Banking shares .SX7P, which have been battered by contagion fears from a possible Greek default, advanced 1.8 percent, extending their 8.9 percent surge Thursday.

    World stocks as measured by the MSCI index rose 0.4 percent to 319.09 -- having hit the highest level in nearly three months of 319.78 earlier in the day.

    U.S. stock index futures pointed to some signs that the stock market euphoria was flagging. Futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 were all down 0.4 to 0.5 percent.

    Fredrik Nerbrand, global head of asset allocation at HSBC, said the lack of details out of the European summit was causing some discomfort to investors.

    "I find it curious and if anything rather worrying that Italian bond yields are up to the level as they were before the summit, while the equity markets are completely decoupled from that," he said.

    Euro zone leaders are now under pressure to finalize details of their plan to slash Greece's debt and strengthen the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), possibly through investment by emerging economies like China and Brazil.

    The head of the fund, Klaus Regling, said Friday he does not expect to reach a conclusive deal with Chinese leaders during a visit to Beijing.


    Investors' focus is also shifting to a Group of 20 meeting next week in Cannes, southern France.

    Edmund Shing, equity strategist at Barclays Capital, said stocks were likely to recover further next week ahead of the G20 summit on November 3 and 4 as investors would not want to bet against policymakers for now. But he advised investors not to chase the market too aggressively.

    The euro slipped to $1.4170, taking a breather from a rally Thursday which sent it to a seven-week high of $1.4248. It fell to near session lows of around $1.4158 after the Italian bond auction results.

    "Although we're getting somewhere with EFSF, the Italian auction shows the market is sending signals that the crisis hasn't been solved by a long shot," said Stephen Gallo, head of market analysis at Schneider FX.

    The dollar index .DXY was up 0.15 percent after falling some 1.6 percent, its biggest one-day fall since May 2009.

    Analysts said with stocks looking to advance further, the sell-off in the dollar is expected to continue.

    Brent crude slipped to around $111.09, but prices were on track to post a weekly gain.

    Spot gold retreated from a one-month high of $1,751.99 at $1,736.69 an ounce, down 0.4 percent from the previous close. But it was still on course for a gain of around 6 percent from a week earlier, the biggest one-week rise in two months, according to Reuters graphics.

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