World stocks rise on hopes for Greek debt deal

World stock markets rise on hopes for Greek debt relief deal,

Associated Press
Markets confident of Greek debt swap success
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In this March 6, 2012 photo, traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. World stock markets cautiously rebounded Wednesday March 7, 2012 in a week that saw Europe's debt crisis return to center stage over concerns Greece would not attract enough investor support for a deal meant to head off a messy default. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

HONG KONG (AP) -- World stocks climbed Thursday on hopes that enough investors would sign up to a debt relief deal for Greece by an evening deadline for it to go ahead, allowing the debt-stricken country to avoid default.

Markets in Europe and Asia rose and U.S. stocks were poised to gain. Dow futures were up 0.3 percent to 12,876 and broader S&P 500 futures added 0.3 percent to 1,356.50.

Growing investor participation in a massive Greek debt relief deal bolstered the mood in stock markets. Confidence rose that enough investors would sign up for a bond swap by Thursday night so Greece can get a related euro130 billion ($171 billion) bailout from European countries and the International Monetary Fund.

"That really relieved the pressure," said Francis Lun, managing director of brokerage firm Lyncean Holdings Ltd. "Europe has been a pressure cooker since the beginning of the year over the possible Greek default. Now, it's on verge the of being averted. I think we can all breathe a little bit easier."

The deal needs participation from at least 67 percent of bondholders. Investors holding about half of Greece's privately held debt had committed by late Wednesday to the swap, which would see them accept losses to avoid facing even bigger ones in case Athens defaults.

In early European trading, the FTSE index of leading British companies was up 0.5 percent at 5,821.20 and Germany's DAX rose 0.6 percent to 6,712.82. France's CAC-40 was 0.7 percent higher at 3,417.84.

Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 index climbed 2 percent to 9,768.96. Hong Kong's Hang Seng jumped 1.3 percent to 20,900.73 and South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.9 percent to 2,000.76.

Asian markets were also lifted after Japanese authorities said the economy shrank less than originally thought in the fourth quarter. The Cabinet Office said GDP shrank an annualized 0.7 percent compared with the 2.3 percent initially estimated.

Investors are also looking to interest rate decisions later Thursday by the European and British central banks and U.S. jobs data on Friday.

In mainland China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.1 percent to 2,420.28 and Australia's ASX/S&P 200 was up 0.7 percent to 4,171.00. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand also rose.

Apple Inc. suppliers got a boost after the company unveiled the latest version of its popular iPad. Contract electronics manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. rose 2.2 percent in Taiwan.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3175 from to $1.3150 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar rose to 81.33 Japanese yen from 81.19 yen.

Benchmark oil for April delivery was up 33 cents to $106.49 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose by $1.46 to end at $106.16 per barrel in New York.

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