Asia stocks up after deal over Greek debt reached

Asian stock markets rise after EU, IMF agree on a deal to help Greece deal with its debt

Associated Press
Asia stocks up after deal over Greek debt reached
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People stand in the rain in front of the electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Monday, Nov. 26, 2012. Asian stock markets posted slight gains Monday after the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season in the U.S. topped expectations, offsetting concerns about Greece's financial crisis. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

BANGKOK (AP) -- Asian stock markets rose Tuesday after talks over Greece's financial crisis ended with an agreement on how to reduce its debt load, paving the way for the cash-strapped country to receive the next installment of a bailout loan.

Finance ministers of the 17 countries that use the euro and representatives of the International Monetary Fund reached an agreement late Monday that will enable Athens to receive €34.4 billion ($40.8 billion) immediately and three additional payments in early 2013.

"This is quite positive. It definitely gives support to the local stock market," said Dickie Wong, executive director of research at Kingston Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.

Greece has endured five years of recession and a 25 percent unemployment rate. It has been locked out of the international long-term debt market by exceptionally high interest rates demanded for its bonds since 2010, and has been relying on funds from rescue loans by other euro countries and the IMF.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4 percent to 9,429.44. South Korea's Kospi rose 0.9 percent to 1,925.94. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1 percent to 21,890.71. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.7 percent to 4,453.10. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines also rose. Indonesia and New Zealand fell.

In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 1 percent 1,998.20. The index has not closed below 2,000 in nearly four years. The smaller Shenzhen Composite Index plummeted 2.3 percent to 771.28.

Wong said investors are taking a "wait and see" stance ahead of the national economic work conference in early December, a forum for leaders involved in economic policy.

"Before this meeting, the sentiment of the Chinese stock market will remain sluggish," he said.

Wall Street stocks were mixed on the first full day of trading after the Thanksgiving holiday, with no resolution on the immediate horizon to the "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and steep spending cuts that take effect in January unless President Barack Obama and Congress reach a budget agreement.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to close at 12,967.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.2 percent to 1,406.29. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.3 percent to 2,976.78.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was up 22 cents to $87.96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 54 cents to close at $87.74 on the Nymex on Monday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.2988 from $1.2963 late Monday in New York. The dollar fell to 82.12 yen from 82.18 yen.

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