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Australia: Stocks down 1.1% after Greece given deadline


[SYDNEY] Australian stocks dropped 1.10 per cent at the open on Wednesday in cautious trade after European leaders handed debt-stricken Greece a final deadline to reach a new bailout deal.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was 60.5 points lower at 5,520.9 soon after the start, with Greece given until Sunday to thrash out an agreement and avoid crashing out of the euro.

"The choppy price action looks like it is set to continue with the Greek impasse still somewhat in place and investors exercising caution," said IG Markets strategist Stan Shamu.

The market had bounced nearly two per cent on Tuesday on bargain-hunting.

In early trade, the Australian dollar continued its slide and was fetching 74.53 US cents from 74.89 US cents late Tuesday, while it was buying 67.70 euro cents from 67.88 euro cents.