Greece aid hope helps euro, stocks rise

By Aiko Hayashi

TOKYO (BestGrowthStock) – The euro stabilized on Monday and Asian share markets rose after Greece requested emergency aid and as a raft of U.S. data showed its economic recovery was gathering strength.

Greece’s finance minister said on Sunday aid from the EU and IMF would arrive in time to avert what would be the euro zone’s first sovereign debt default, although there were growing signs that a 45 billion euro ($60 billion) rescue package would have to be bigger.

While Greece’s debt crisis has cast a cloud over prospects for Europe’s economic recovery and rattled global financial markets, data from the United States on Friday underscored that the world’s largest economy was continuing to gather strength, buoying investor sentiment.

U.S. home sales hit an eight-month high in March and new orders for durable goods grew strongly, helping U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) to a 19-month high. <.

Although there is much uncertainty about how soon Greece can get aid, and fears remain that the problem could spread to other euro-zone economies, such as Portugal and Spain, the mood was encouraging for investors to take on a little more risk in the short-term, traders said.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS: ) rose 1.3 percent on Monday, with its technology sub-index leading the gains (.MIAPJIT00PUS: ). The main index lost about 1.5 percent last week but is up about 2 percent so far on the month.

Japan’s Nikkei average climbed more than 2 percent, breaking above resistance at the level of its 25-day moving average at about 11,000. (.T: )

“It appears that Greece is getting aid, but whether this is the ultimate solution is a big question. As well, investors may be reluctant to buy the Nikkei much ahead of results later this week,” said Nagayuki Yamagishi, a strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

The Nikkei was helped by a 3 percent jump in Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: ). A newspaper reported the automaker is likely to have posted an operating profit of as high as 50 billion yen ($532 million) for the past financial year, above a market consensus of 42.35 billion yen.

The euro was steady at around $1.3375 after a short-covering rebound on Friday. It fell as far as $1.3201 in the previous session, its lowest since April 2009, but it recovered as Greece sought to activate the financial aid package.

Against the yen, the euro edged up 0.2 percent to 126.00 yen, having risen 1 percent on Friday. Investors in the stock market welcome a weaker yen as it boosts exporters’ profits when they are repatriated.

The Australian dollar hit its highest against the low-yielding yen in 19 months. It gained 0.5 percent from late Friday to 87.58 yen, its strongest level since September 2008, as the yen lost ground across the board.

Commodity prices were also firm, encouraged by signs for a steady recovery in the economy.

Oil extended Friday’s move above $85 a barrel as a sharp jump in U.S. new home sales signaled a stronger economic recovery and boosted the outlook for energy demand. (O/R: )

Copper prices rose more than 1 percent early on Monday, with London futures extending the previous session’s gains, while gold was steady around one-week highs. (MTL: ) (GOL/: ) (Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Elaine Lies; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Greece aid hope helps euro, stocks rise