Greek proposal lifts stocks, despite German rejection

Greek proposal lifts stocks, despite German rejection

Japan’s shares hit a 15-year high; weaker yen helping exports

By (Agencies)

Published: Fri 20 Feb 2015, 11:34 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:52 PM

People look at an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo on Thursday. — AP

London — A Greek proposal to extend its bailout and not to undermine agreed fiscal targets lifted European stocks to seven-year highs on Thursday and cut government borrowing costs across the eurozone, even though Germany rejected it.

Despite the German rejection, Greece’s wording of a document seen by Reuters appeared to go substantially toward the position taken by eurozone finance ministers in early negotiations. That reassured investors a deal was not far away. Ten-year bond yields in Spain, Italy and Portugal — the countries most vulnerable to the Greek crisis — fell 5-7 basis points to 1.54 per cent, 1.56 per cent and 2.27 per cent, respectively.

They were little changed after a German finance ministry spokesperson said the proposal did not correspond to criteria agreed by the Eurogroup on Monday. The broader FTSEurofirst 300 index was up a touch at 1516.30 after reaching a seven-year high of 1.517.98 points when the Greek proposal was reported and a low of 1,504.03 before that. US stock market futures were steady.

“We should now get a definitive agreement soon,” Rabobank rate strategist Lyn Graham Taylor said.
Greece’s main stock market index rose 1.1 per cent and banking stocks rose 5.8 per cent. Greek 10-year bond yields fell 38 basis points to 10.05 per cent.

The Greek request for a six-month extension to its eurozone loan agreement came as it was weeks away from running out of cash. Crucially, Greece agreed the extension would be monitored by the EU Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund — a retreat by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who had vowed to end cooperation with “troika” inspectors.

The euro held steady, after gaining against the dollar on Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting in January showed Fed officials were concerned about hiking interest rates too soon. The dollar fell after the minutes but was broadly stable on Thursday.

“The minutes were a bit on the dovish side compared to what the market was looking for, so we saw the dollar coming under some initial pressure as a result of that, but I don’t think that changes the bigger picture,” said Ian Stannard, head of European FX sales at Morgan Stanley in London.

“While the Fed has the potential to generate some short-term volatility, we think the growth picture is the important thing and that is why we still believe we’re in a dollar bullish environment.”

Ten-year US T-note yields were flat at 2.07 per cent, having fallen after the minutes. In oil markets, benchmark Brent crude futures for April were down $1.52 at $59.01 a barrel after another big weekly build in US crude inventories and a possible rise in Saudi output.

In Asia, Japanese stocks hit 15-year highs.

A benchmark index of Indian equities markets, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), was trading 70 points or 0.24 per cent down in Thursday’s afternoon session.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also trading in the red. It was down 36.90 points or 0.42 per cent at 8,832.20 points. The Sensex of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 29,434.91 points, was trading at 29,250.29 points (12.10am) in the afternoon session, down 69.97 points or 0.24 per cent from the previous day’s close at 29,320.26 points.

The Sensex had touched a high of 29,469.86 points and a low of 29,165.12 points in the trade so far. Healthy buying was observed in capital goods.

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