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Euro slips as Greek stalemate continues; Japan fuels Asia stocks

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Asian stocks rose as Japan resumed trading after a holiday, while US crude oil held below US$50 a barrel.

[ATHENS] The euro retreated after European lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on how to keep bailout funds flowing to Greece. Asian stocks rose as Japan resumed trading after a holiday, while US crude oil held below US$50 a barrel.

The 19-nation euro lost 0.2 per cent to US$1.1313 by 9:09 am in Tokyo, after rallying into the Wednesday close. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.6 per cent as Japan's Topix index jumped 1.5 per cent from Tuesday levels. Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures added 0.1 per cent after earlier rising as much as 0.3 per cent. Oil in New York climbed 1 per cent to US$49.32 after sinking more than 7 per cent the past two days. Gold rose 0.2 per cent after touching a five-week low. Korea's won sank.

Talks in Brussels on Wednesday covered a lot of ground, though no joint conclusion was reached, Eurogroup Chairman and Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters. Earlier, four euro-region officials said they were moving toward an agreement on a bailout extension, claims then repudiated by Greece, which has said it won't accept extending the existing bailout program. Japan posted a bigger-than-forecast increase in machinery orders Thursday, with Australia to report on jobs.

"It's so loaded on a Greek resolution at the moment," Evan Lucas, a markets strategist in Melbourne at IG Ltd., said by phone before Dijsselbloem's comments. "Everyone is waiting to see whether the high line stance from Germany and Greece waivers, and who waivers the most." The discussions between euro-area lawmakers and Greece are slated to resume next week.

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