Friday 23 March 2018

Stocks rise, safe-haven Swiss franc falls on Greek deal

Data from the Madrid stock market when Aena began trading earlier this month. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
Data from the Madrid stock market when Aena began trading earlier this month. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

Shares rose and the safe-haven Swiss franc fell against the euro on Monday after Greece reached a conditional deal with its international partners to avert an immediate financial crisis.

Yields on low-rated euro zone government bonds fell as the agreement, reached after Greece's leftist government made big concessions, eased "Grexit" concerns that the country would have to leave the euro zone.

Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Friday to extend debt-laden Greece's bailout deal for four months, provided it drew up a list of reforms by Monday.

The agreement keeps Greece in the euro zone, though it will live under the EU/IMF rescue plan its government had pledged to scrap.

European shares rose. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index was up 0.4 percent, at its highest since December 2007.

Madrid stock exchange were among the biggest gainers .FTMIB, while Greek markets were closed for a holiday.

The Greek deal helped propel Wall Street higher, with the S&P 500 .SPX and Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI closing at record highs on Friday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index .N225 hit a 15-year high on Monday, though MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.3 percent. Many countries in the region returned from Lunar New Year holidays.

Yields on bonds issued by other indebted euro zone governments fell. Italian 10-year yields IT10YT=TWEB were down 4.8 basis points (bps) at 1.52 percent and those on Spanish equivalents ES10YT=TWEB fell 4.6 bps to 1.45 percent.

"With the Grexit scenario off the table - at least over the next few months - systemic risk will be priced out further today and we expect more pronounced ... (peripheral yields falling) momentum to unfold," Commerzbank analyst Alexander Aldinger said.

German 10-year Bunds DE10YT=TWEB, the euro zone benchmark, rose 2.3 bps to 0.39 percent as investors sold the highest-rated debt and sought higher returns in lower-rated paper.

The euro EUR= rose as high as $1.1430 on Friday in the immediate wake of the deal but was last down 0.4 percent at $1.1355. However, the single currency rose 0.3 percent to 1.0721 Swiss francs EURCHF=, close to a five-week high.

"It is a four-month extension but Greece still has to receive approval from the Eurogroup and the troika at the end of April. It is a deal with many conditions attached, so it hasn't been all bids for the euro," Barclays chief Japan forex strategist in Tokyo, Shinichiro Kadota.

The dollar was broadly stronger, rising 0.5 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY. The yen JPY= fell 0.2 percent to 119.21 to the dollar.

Oil prices initially rose on Monday on the Greece deal but later dipped on worries about oversupply in North America.

Brent futures LCOc1 were last down 0.5 percent at $59.93 a barrel.

Crude prices began tumbling in June 2014 as traders reacted to a growing glut, but prices have picked up since mid-January with Brent jumping almost $20 to $63 a barrel as traders closed long-standing short positions in reaction to a falling number of U.S. oil rigs.

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