World stocks jump on hopes of Europe debt plan

Pamela Sampson

Bangkok— The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, Sep. 27, 2011 2:17AM EDT

World stocks rebounded Tuesday as pledges by European officials to once and for all resolve the region’s debt problems helped soothe market jitters.

Oil prices (CL-FT82.672.433.03%) rose above $82 per barrel while the dollar slipped against the euro and the yen.

European shares were sharply up in early trading. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 2.2 per cent to 5,202.05 and Germany’s DAX jumped 3.2 per cent to 5,517.02. France’s CAC-40 rose 2.9 per cent to 2,943.36.

Wall Street, too, was set for a higher opening, with Dow Jones industrial futures (YM-FT11,143.00171.001.56%) advancing 1.1 per cent to 11,095, while S&P 500 futures (ES-FT1,177.2518.751.62%) were 1.1 per cent higher to 1,170.70.

The gains come on the heels of a strong trading in Asia.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 shot up 2.8 per cent to close at 8,609.95, a day after shedding more than 2 per cent and ending at its lowest level since April 2009. South Korea’s Kospi rallied 5 per cent to 1,735.71. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 4.2 per cent to 18,130.55. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index ended 3.4 per cent higher at 4,004.60.

Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan, mainland China, New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand were also higher. Stocks on main indexes in Malaysia and Vietnam fell.

Investor sentiment improved after European ministers told a meeting of global finance leaders in Washington over the weekend that they would take bolder and more decisive steps to pull Greece back from the brink of bankruptcy. The country has only enough money to last until mid-October.

Stressing the urgency of the situation, President Barack Obama on Monday called on Europe’s leadership to move quickly.

Financial stocks were buoyed by hopes that a plan was in the works to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debts – an event that might crush banks with significant holdings of the country’s bonds and cause domino-style defaults in other indebted countries such as Italy.

Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. gained 4.3 per cent. Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd., the nation’s largest lender, rose 3.9 per cent. Hong Kong-listed shares of Agricultural Bank of China, the nation’s largest rural lender, jumped 8.7 per cent.

But some traders remained skeptical, saying it was unrealistic to think that Europe would be willing or able to throw the amount of money needed to dig Greece out from under its staggering debt load.

“Some of these euro zone nations cannot be bailed out,” said Tey Tze Ming, a trader at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore. “There’s not enough cash to go around,” he said. “The European banks stand to take a lot of pain on their balance sheets, which is what all this nervousness is about.”

Ming said he believes the timing is now right to buy gold (GC-FT1,659.8065.004.08%), which plunged $45 an ounce on Monday to settle below $1,600 for the first time since July.

“Our scenario is: the European crisis is going to become worse before anything. Gold as a safe haven should come back,” he said.

Energy shares were lifted by rising oil prices. PetroChina, the country’s biggest oil and gas company, rose 5.4 per cent in Hong Kong. Japanese energy explorer Inpex Corp. gained 2 per cent. Australia’s Woodside Petroleum was 3.6 per cent higher.

On Monday, Wall Street saw its biggest gains in more than two weeks. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 272 points, or 2.5 per cent, to close at 11,043.86 – the biggest gain since Sept. 7. The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 2.3 per cent to 1,162.95. The Nasdaq composite rose 1.4 per cent to 2,516.69.

Benchmark oil for November delivery rose $1.80 to $82.08 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 39 cents to finish at $80.24 per barrel Monday on the Nymex.

In currencies, euro rose to $1.3520 from $1.3472 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to ¥76.40 from ¥76.49.


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