Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Europe hopes boost Asian stocks

A specialist looks at a graph as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (AP)
A specialist looks at a graph as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (AP)

Asian stocks have risen as traders watched for a possible deal to cut Greece's debts and Japanese factory output rebounded.

Benchmark oil rose above 99 US dollars per barrel while the dollar fell against the euro and the yen.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 rose 0.1% to 8,806.06 after data showed December industrial activity rose 4% over the previous month. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7% to 20,304.48 and Seoul's Kospi was up 0.1% at 1,942.82.

Traders watched Europe, a major export market, following reports Greece and its creditors were close to a deal to cut its debts.

Also on Monday, European leaders agreed on a new treaty meant to stop overspending and put an end to the region's crippling debt woes.

"Everyone is watching the European summit and how the Greek debt crisis comes out," said Jackson Wong at Tanrich Securities in Hong Kong. "The general atmosphere is to play a wait-and-see game."

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.2% at 2,289.42 ahead of Wednesday's release of a key manufacturing index. Investors are hoping for a loosening of credit curbs or other measures to boost growth if it shows activity is slowing amid lacklustre global demand for Chinese goods.

Benchmarks in Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and India rose while Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand fell. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2% to 4,266.10. European markets tumbled on Monday on concerns Greece's financial problems might not be solved even if creditors agree to cancel part of its debt.

Under a tentative agreement, investors holding 206 billion euro (£172 billion) in Greek bonds would exchange them for bonds with half the face value. The replacement bonds would have a longer maturity and pay a lower interest rate. When the bonds mature, Greece would have to pay its bondholders only 103 billion euro (£86 billion).

France's CAC-40 shed 1.6 percent while Britain's FTSE 100 and Germany's DAX both lost 1 percent. Wall Street fell in early trading but Asian investors were encouraged after the Dow Jones industrial average recovered most of its losses to close down just 0.1%. The Standard & Poor's 500 lost 0.8%.

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