Global Stocks Up on Greek Hopes
Business + Economy

Global Stocks Up on Greek Hopes

Global stocks were on track for their best day in five weeks, and the euro resumed its rebound on Thursday on optimism Greece would clinch a private debt swap to avoid a chaotic default. Anticipation of a solid U.S. payrolls report for February, which will be released on Friday, fueled appetite for oil and other growth-sensitive commodities and the selling of safe-haven U.S. and German government debt.

The results thus for on the Greek debt exchange, however, remain far from clear. Greece aims to persuade 90 percent of creditors to take part in the bond swap, but with two-thirds acceptance or more it may be able to trigger collective action clauses and force other bondholders to accept losses.

"Today's moves suggest the market is moving back to risk-on mode, but there is event risk surrounding the Greek debt swap percentages," said Lauren Rosborough, senior foreign exchange strategist at Societe Generale in London.

The MSCI world equity index <.MIWD00000PUS> gained nearly 0.9 percent, its biggest single-day rise since Feb 3. It posted its biggest drop in more than three months two days earlier. Shortly after opening, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 57.82 points, or 0.45 percent, to 12,895.15. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 8.51 points, or 0.63 percent, to 1,361.14. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 18.67 points, or 0.64 percent, to 2,954.36.

The broad FTSE Eurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European companies rose 1 percent, led by strength in the banking sector. French banks, which have high exposure to Greece, saw good gains on their stocks. Shares of BNP Paribas <BNPP.PA> and Societe Generale <SOGN.PA> were up 2.5 percent and 2.2 percent. <.EU>

Tokyo's Nikkei index <.N225> closed up 2 percent at 9,768.96, snapping a three-day losing streak. <.T>

In early morning New York trading, the euro rose for a second day against the U.S. dollar. It last traded up 0.6 percent at $1.3227 after touching a global session peak of $1.31273. <FRX/>

The dollar index <.DXY>, which measures the value of a basket of major currencies against the greenback, was down 0.5 percent at 79.33 after hitting a three-week high on Wednesday.

In oil trading, April Brent crude in London was up $1.17, or 0.9 percent, at $125.29 a barrel, and April U.S. oil futures in New York rose 32 cents or 0.3 percent at $106.48. <O/R>

Gold rose 0.7 percent to $1.696.46 an ounce as hopes of a Greek debt swap deal rekindled appetite for the precious metal. Spot bullion prices fell to a six-week low earlier this week.<GOL/>

The U.S. 10-year Treasury note fell 7/32 to 100-1/32 in price with a yield just below 2 percent. German Bund futures for June last traded down 16 basis points at 138.40.

(Additional reporting by Ed Krudy in New York, Richard Hubbard and Neal Armstrong in London)