Investors: Concerns Turn To Portugal Amid Optimism For A Greek Debt Deal (EWJ, YAO, EWS, EWA, FXI)
Randall Mah: Greece began its fourth day of negotiations with its private debt holders in an attempt to reach a debt swapping deal seen as critical to avoiding a default. Meanwhile in Brussels, European Union leaders have agreed to tougher budget discipline measures designed to prevent future crises.
Optimism that Greece might reach a deal helped push stocks up in Europe by mid-morning trading, with London’s FTSE rising 0.56%, the German DAX up 0.89%, and the Paris CAC 40 climbing 1.10%. As Greece works to extricate itself, however, Portugal’s debt situation is looking more precarious with insurers of Portuguese debt now demanding large premiums be paid upfront.
The British pound appreciated 0.38% to $1.5761 and the euro rose 0.40% to $1.3187.
In Asia overnight, Tokyo’s Nikkei (NYSEArca:EWJ) rose 0.11%. Honda announced a 65% drop in quarterly profits, an aftereffect of the earthquake and tsunami last March and the flooding of its factory in Thailand last fall. Honda shares dipped 0.60%. Electronics firms were mixed. Sony shares were up 0.22%, while Panasonic stocks were down 0.80%.
Seoul’s KOSPI (NYSEArca:EWY) rose 0.79%. South Korea’s industrial output fell for the third straight month in December, down 0.9% from November.
In Shanghai, Chinese shares (NYSEArca:YAO) got a bump of 0.33%. China (NYSEArca:FXI) lost an appeal today at the World Trade Organization, which said China violated global trading rules by restricting the export of minerals including bauxite, coke, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Rare earth metals, which are critical to the manufacturing of many electronic items, however, were not covered in the ruling.
In Australia, stocks (NYSEArca:EWA) slipped 0.20%, while in Singapore shares (NYSEArca:EWS) appreciated 0.64%. The Chinese yuan slid 0.37% to 6.3075 to the dollar, while the Japanese yen dipped 0.01% to 76.28 against the greenback.
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