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Europe: Stocks advance at open

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Europe's main stock markets opened higher on Wednesday on hopes of an end to Greece's debt stand-off, dealers said.

[LONDON] Europe's main stock markets opened higher on Wednesday on hopes of an end to Greece's debt stand-off, dealers said.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.23 per cent to 6,914.31 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.33 per cent to 10,931.72 points and the CAC 40 index in Paris was up 0.60 per cent to 4,782.59 compared with Tuesday's close.

"European equities are trading higher this morning as renewed optimism is making the rounds that Greece and the EU will agree to a compromise after all," said ETX Capital analyst Markus Huber.

Greece will ask to extend its European loan agreement without signing up to the loathed duties of a full-blown bailout, its finance minister said, as Brussels pressures Athens for a deal.

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Greek public television reported Athens will on Wednesday send a letter to Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup, requesting a six-month extension.

"We should extend the credit programme by a few months to have enough stability so that we can negotiate a new agreement between Greece and Europe," Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told German public broadcaster ZDF.

Europe and Greece are racing to reach a deal to avoid a catastrophic Greek exit from the eurozone, after talks in Brussels ended in acrimony on Monday with both sides digging into their positions.

AFP

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