Asian shares riding high on Greek optimism

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GMT - 3 Hours Asian shares riding high on Greek optimism

Post by εﺓз• » ιη∂αġι яσ¢χ « • on Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:33 pm

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HONG KONG, June 29, 2011 (AFP) - Screens were green across most of Asia Wednesday as the region was gripped by optimism over the growing likelihood of a solution to Greece's debt problems.

Exporters, helped by a slightly weaker yen, and utilities led the charge in Japan, but dealers also took succour from better-than-expected domestic industrial output data.

Tokyo jumped 1.00 percent, Sydney climbed 1.10 percent, Seoul added 1.14 percent and Hong Kong was up 0.44 percent.

But Shanghai focused instead on renewed fears that China's leaders may hike interest rates as they try to dampen soaring inflation. The market was 0.33 percent lower.

Asia was following a robust performance on Wall Street, where the three main indexes all rose more than one percent on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.21 percent to close at 12,188.69 while the broader S&P 500 jumped 1.29 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.53 percent.

"The market has shaken off the pessimistic mood starting from last week," Kazuhiro Takahashi, general manager of investment strategy and research at Daiwa Securities told.

"So we're watching to see if this trend will continue," he said.

Investors welcomed reports that progress was being made in talks to prevent a Greek default, in part by rolling over a large portion of Greece's debt into 30-year bonds.

Lawmakers in Athens are expected to vote later Wednesday on austerity measures demanded by international creditors in exchange for the money Greece needs to avoid default.

Approval would unblock 12 billion euros ($17 billion) of emergency loans from last year's 110-billion-euro bailout.

That would then free eurozone finance ministers to start drawing up a second bailout for perhaps as much again, at talks in Brussels on Sunday.

But the $41 billion package of tax grabs, spending cuts and sell-offs required are not popular, with unions mobilising members for a 48-hour general strike and around 10,000 people massing outside parliament on Tuesday.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy called on Greece's parliament -- where Prime Minister George Papandreou has a five-seat majority -- to take a decision "crucial for the Greek people, but also for the eurozone and the stability of the world economy."

After being named the new head of the International Monetary Fund, France's Christine Lagarde immediately urged the Greek opposition "to join in national unity."

"The country's destiny is at stake," she said in a French television interview. "I think that at this moment they need to put aside their major political differences."

In Tokyo the mood was also helped by figures showing Japan's industrial production jumped 5.7 percent in May from the previous month, reflecting a steady recovery in supply chains following the March 11 quake and tsunami.

The level, the second highest rise on record, beat market expectations of a 5.5-percent increase and followed a revised 1.6-percent monthly lift in April.

Exporters were also bought as the yen traded lower than it has been
accustomed to in recent months.

The dollar was at 81.03 yen, slightly down from 81.08 late Tuesday in New York, while the single currency fetched $1.4351, from $1.4367. The euro bought 116.29 yen against 116.47.

Oil was down in Asia trade, with New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August shedding 16 cents to $92.73 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for August delivery slipped 68 cents to $108.10.

The falls came as dealers took profits from earlier strong gains.

Gold opened at $1,503.00-$1,504.00 an ounce in Hong Kong, slightly up from its Monday close of $1,502.00-$1,503.00. (AFP)
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