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GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro, stocks recover on hopes of Greek deal
February 17, 2015 / 8:28 PM / 3 years ago

GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro, stocks recover on hopes of Greek deal

* Stocks rebound on signs Greece to obtain bank funding

* Oil falls below $61 barrel as other commodities weigh

* Treasury prices tumble in anticipation of Fed rate hike (Adds oil settlement prices)

By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The euro rebounded on Tuesday and global equity markets recovered to trade slightly higher on signs Greek banks will continue to get emergency funding despite a breakdown in debt talks between Athens and euro zone finance ministers.

U.S. Treasuries tumbled further while Wall Street rebounded on news Greece said it intended to ask Wednesday for an extension of its loan agreement with the euro zone that would be apart from a full bailout program, a source in Brussels said.

U.S. Treasuries prices have declined a total of 3 percent in eight of the last 10 sessions, largely in anticipation that the Federal Reserve will raise benchmark U.S. interest rates as early as June. The decline is the biggest cumulative loss since December 2010.

U.S. equities have been grinding higher lately, with major indexes last week notching a second week of solid gains and the S&P 500 setting a new closing high on Friday. The advance came on signs of progress for a Greek debt deal and reduced tensions between Russia and Ukraine, even though a ceasefire agreement reached last week in Minsk was unraveling rapidly.

A war of words between Greece and Germany escalated, with Athens’ new leftist prime minister rejecting what he called “blackmail” to extend an international bailout and vowing to rush through laws to reverse labor reforms.

Traders, however, said the market was pricing in the prospect of a last-minute deal on Greece.

“The costs of a Greek exit (from the euro zone) are so great for Greece, they will eventually strike a deal. Yesterday’s meeting should not be seen as a failure, but more part of a necessary process,” said James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts in London.

MSCI’s all-country world stock index rose 0.08 percent, rebounding from earlier losses, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.18 percent at 1,504.86.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 17.53 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,036.88. The S&P 500 gained 1.76 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,098.75 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.98 points, or 0.02 percent, to 4,894.81.

On the whole investors kept their composure on expectations a compromise would eventually be reached even as Greek markets slipped, with the main Athens stock index falling as much as 4.7 percent before closing down 2.5 percent.

Greek stocks cut their losses while Italian and Spanish 10-year government debt yields rose only slightly. Earlier, safe-haven buying of U.S. Treasuries on concerns about Greece and Ukraine dissipated.

“The decline yesterday was in very thin trading. The market recognizes that Greece is fairly isolated ... without much of a contagion impact,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes were down 1 5/32 in price to yield 2.1502 percent, up from 2.05 percent late on Monday.

The euro rose 0.52 percent against the dollar to $1.1411 and against sterling it bounced from within a whisker of a seven-year trough of 73.69 pence set last week.

The euro zone single currency was also helped by a German ZEW survey that showed analyst and investor sentiment rose in February to its highest in a year.

Spot gold fell as much as 2.1 percent to its lowest since Jan. 8 at $1,205.72 an ounce in earlier trade and was last down about 1.9 percent at $1,207.86.

“People think that eventually things will move towards a solution because there is a lot at stake in the euro zone,” Julius Baer analyst Carsten Menke said.

Oil futures rebounded on short-covering as worries about euro zone stability receded. Threats to Middle East crude output and the declining U.S. rig count appeared to spur investors despite global inventory data suggesting an oversupply of up to two million barrels per day, analysts and traders said.

Brent crude rose $1.13 to settle at $62.53 a barrel. U.S. crude rose 75 cents to settle at $53.53 a barrel. (Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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