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Global stocks march on

Written by Business World, on 18th Feb 2015. Posted in EU

article headlineStocks continued their relentless march higher on Wednesday as investors shrugged off the protracted uncertainty surrounding Greece's debt negotiations with its creditors, pinning their hopes that a deal will be reached by the end of the week. The Greek government said it would request a loan extension from its creditors on Wednesday, expected to be for up to six months with conditions yet to be negotiated, and the European Central Bank will announce it won't cut off emergency funding for Greek banks, a source told Reuters. Europe's main bourses followed Asia and Wall Street higher. In early trade the FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading European shares was up 0.5 percent at a fresh seven-year high of 1,511 points, and Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent to 6,921 points, its highest since January 2000. France's CAC 40 share index and Germany's DAX both rose 0.4 percent, while Greek stocks clawed back some of this week's losses to trade 3 percent higher. European financials were among the biggest gainers, up 1.7 percent. Earlier in Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent. The region's outstanding performers included Indonesian stocks , which hit a record high a day after the country's central bank cut interest rates just three months after hiking them. Japan's Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to its highest since July 2007. There was little reaction to the Bank of Japan's well-anticipated decision to stand pat on monetary policy and maintain its massive stimulus. U.S. shares are called to open slightly higher, building on Tuesday's gains that pushed the S&P 500 to another record high . The positive tone in equities was mirrored in peripheral euro zone bond markets, where benchmark Italian and Spanish 10-year yields both fell around 5 basis points . Three-year Greek yields fell around 100 basis points to 17.7 percent. Core government bonds were more steady following Tuesday's selloff, which saw the 10-year U.S. yield rise to a seven-week high of 2.15 percent. The yield has risen 44 basis points this month. Investors will look to the minutes of January's Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting to be released later on Wednesday for signs the central bank is on track to raise interest rates this year, maybe as early as June. In currencies the euro held onto $1.14 against the dollar , despite the dollar's widening interest rate and yield advantage. The dollar hovered around 119.00 yen after jumping from a low of 118.235 overnight. Brent crude oil was down 1.1 percent at $61.85 a barrel as the market took a breather after rallying earlier in the week amid threats to Middle East production and a falling U.S. rig count. Brent is up 36 percent from its low of around $45 a barrel barely a month ago. The fragile ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine kept emerging market investors on edge, with Ukrainian assets in particular coming under heavy pressure. The country's sovereign bond yield spread over U.S. Treasuries rose to a record high 3,038 basis points and five-year credit default swaps, essentially the premia investors pay to insure against default, hit a record high 3,669 basis points. (Reuters) For more visit: www.businessworld.ie

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