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Europe: Stocks rally on China stimulus


[LONDON] Europe's main stock markets rebounded Monday after China announced a raft of stimulus measures to bolster growth, eclipsing fears over Greece, dealers said.

London's FTSE 100 index ended the day 0.82 per cent up at 7,052.13 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index rose 1.74 per cent to 11,891.91 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.86 per cent to 5,187.59 points compared with Friday's close.

In foreign exchange, the euro retreated to US$1.0756 from US$1.0810 late in New York on Friday.

"European markets were greeted with the news that China has taken a further step down the road of stimulus," said analyst Alistair McCaig at trading firm IG.

Wall Street was also firm, lifted by the Chinese stimulus.

In mid-day trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.32 per cent, the broad-based S&P 500 gained 1.01 per cent while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.15 per cent.

China's central bank announced Sunday it would cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) - or amount of cash that commercial banks must hold in reserve - by one percentage point, the second such move this year to boost lending.

The move, effective Monday, comes days after the world's second largest economy reported its worst quarterly growth figure for six years.

In a statement on its website, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said it will give a one-percentage-point cut to banks for agricultural services and a further two-percentage-point cut to the Agricultural Development Bank of China.

However, Shanghai and Hong Kong stocks tumbled as Chinese authorities also unveiled restrictions on dealers borrowing cash to trade shares.

"News that China had applied further economic stimulus measures to boost its ailing economy distracted investors," added Accendo Markets analyst Augustin Eden.

"Global markets were reassured by the action, largely expected throughout 2015 and arguably already priced into the Asian markets, which remained mixed in Monday trading as a result."

Although traders took their lead from China's moves, Greece was still in focus, with the cash-strapped government issuing a decree in the late afternoon ordering all public agencies to turn in their financial reserves to the treasury in order to meet payments.

"With this act, the government hopes to cover urgent needs of the state amounting to three billion euros for the next 15 days," said the decree, which still needs adoption by the parliament.

Greece is struggling to unlock some 7.2 billion euros in bailout funds as Athens and its creditors have so far been unable to find an agreement on the reforms that need to be undertaken in exchange for the rescue package.

Athens was told Saturday to urgently deliver a detailed fiscal and debt plan to official lenders, while European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi cautioned that not reaching an agreement would take the situation into "uncharted waters." There are fears that if Greece defaults, it would tumble out of the eurozone, fuelling worries about the knock-on effects for the global economy.

"The situation in Greece is... going to continue to make headlines ahead of the Eurogroup meeting on Friday," said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

"So far, Greek leader Alexis Tsipras has been both unwilling and unable to offer a list of acceptable reforms to the country's lenders in order to release the 7.2-billion-euro bailout that was agreed as part of the extension earlier this year.

"Without the funds, Greece will default on its debt and could be forced out of the eurozone and into a devastating financial crisis."