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Europe: Stocks extend gains with Greece deal in sight

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 00:25
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[LONDON] European stock markets rose further on Tuesday, building on the previous day's sharp rally on hopes of there finally being a deal on Greece's bailout.

The CAC 40 in Paris climbed 1.18 per cent to 5,057.68 points and Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 0.72 per cent to 11,542.54 points.

Athens' main index surged 6.1 per cent on Tuesday after rocketing nine per cent Monday.

Lisbon jumped 3.08 per cent, while Rome rose 0.35 per cent and Madrid added 0.30 per cent.

Outside the eurozone, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.13 per cent to end the day at 6,834.87 points.

"Better than expected manufacturing and services data from France and Germany alongside continuing optimism for a Greek debt deal helped European equities rally for a second day on Tuesday," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Eurozone business activity rose sharply in June to hit a more than four-year high, which analysts said suggested a better-than-expected recovery in the making despite the Greek crisis.

The closely watched Markit Economics Composite Purchasing Managers Output Index (PMI) came in at 54.1 points in June, up from 53.6 in May, for its best performance since May 2011.

Greece and its creditors were working Tuesday to seal a bailout deal with exactly one week to go before Athens is due to repay the IMF around 1.5 billion euros on June 30 or face default and a possible exit from the euro and EU.

After an emergency summit in Brussels, the eurozone finance ministers were to hold fresh talks on Wednesday to thrash out the details ahead of a full meeting of all 28 EU leaders on Thursday.

"The prospect of a deal on Greece... following months of tough negotiations is likely to keep the mood in the markets very upbeat this week," Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda trading group, said on Tuesday.

That optimism persisted as the European Central Bank on Tuesday again increased emergency liquidity funds for Greece's banks.

The amount of the new increase of the ECB's Emergency Liquidity Assistance was not specified, but is the fourth increase since last Wednesday and came as Greek savers continued withdrawing their money in large volumes from the country's banks.

"While the repayment deadlines to the IMF at the end of this month and to the ECB in July are important milestones that could lead to default, the most pressing issue at the moment is the banking sector," according to Danae Kyriakopoulou, senior economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

In foreign exchange, the euro tumbled to $1.1188 from $1.1340 late in New York on Monday, with profit-taking setting in.

"Having gained on expectations a deal will finally be reached, as it looked more likely, the euro fell on a combination of profit-taking and fears the plan would struggle to win approval in Greek parliament," said Lawler.

Wall Street was steady in midday trading, with the Nasdaq slipping from a record close on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.07 per cent to 18,131.82 points, while the broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.12 per cent to 2,122.73 points.

The Nasdaq Composite, which punched to another record on Monday, slid 0.09 per cent to 5,149.50.

Asian stocks also rose on Tuesday, with encouraging Chinese data complementing hopes for a Greek deal.

Tokyo soared 1.87 per cent, breaking through 20,700 for the first time since April 2000 to end at 20,809.42.

Sydney advanced 1.32 per cent, Seoul climbed 1.27 per cent and Hong Kong rose 0.93 per cent.

Shanghai, which plunged more than 13 per cent last week before a long weekend, ended 2.19 per cent higher, HSBC's preliminary Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for June came in at 49.6 - below the breakeven point of 50 - but was the highest in three months.

"The data still indicates a contraction in China's manufacturing, but there are signs of improvement as the governments monetary and fiscal stimulus begins to take effect," said Mr Lawler.

AFP