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World stock markets edge up after G-8 summit

Pamela Sampson, AP Business Writer

A woman looks at an electronic stock indicator in Tokyo Monday, May 21, 2012. Bargain-hunting helped Asian stock markets edge upward Monday, but gains were limited as investors remained unconvinced that the world's major economies nailed a solution to the European debt crisis following a summit in Washington. Japan's Nikkei 225 index came off four-month lows to rise 0.3 percent at 8,636.89. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

BANGKOK (AP) -- Assurances that world powers want debt-laden Greece to remain in the euro helped support world stock markets Monday after sharp losses over the past week.

A weekend summit in Washington of leaders of the world's major developed economies provided little in the way of tangible results for investors already nervous about slowing growth in China and the U.S.

But leaders of the G-8 countries issued a statement affirming their desire for Greece to remain a part of the euro currency union and calling for growth-promoting measures as well as austerity moves.

Analysts said the tone helped calm markets, which were rattled last week after Greek voters rejected austerity policies that are a condition for the country continuing to receive international bailout money. With the bailouts, Greece would default on its debts and likely abandon the euro common currency.

Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent to 6,311.68 and France's CAC-40 added 0.9 percent to 3,033.95. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.8 percent to 5,296.58.

U.S. stock futures augured a higher open for Wall Street. Dow Jones industrial futures climbed 0.7 percent to 12,417 and S&P 500 futures gained 0.7 percent to 1,300.30.

Andrew Sullivan, principal sales trader at Piper Jaffray in Hong Kong, said that "the panic seen at the end of last week has abated."

He said the next major market-moving event was likely to be on June 17, when Greeks again try to elect a new government.

"I think the focus is on the Greek election. I doubt anything will happen before that will force Greece's hand one way or the other," he said.

In any event, sharp selling among key Asian indexes last week presented bargain-hunting opportunities. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3 percent to close at 8,633.89. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. rose 1.4 percent. Camera and medical equipment maker Olympus Corp. rose 1.5 percent.

Australia's S&P/ASX jumped 0.7 percent to 4,073.60 as improving commodities prices helped its sizable resource sector. Energy Resources of Australia jumped 3 percent and BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, added 2 percent.

Mainland China's Shanghai Composite Index was 0.2 percent higher at 2,348.30. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and India also rose.

But Hong Kong's Hang Seng was down 0.2 percent at 18,922.32. Indonesia, Thailand and New Zealand benchmarks also fell.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Alibaba.com Ltd. rose 0.2 percent a day after Yahoo Inc. announced it will sell back half of its 40 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce group. Rising gold prices helped boost Hong Kong-listed Zijin Mining Group 3.3 percent.

Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 51 cents to $91.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.08 to settle at $91.48 in New York on Friday.

In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2764 from $1.2737 late Friday in New York. The dollar rose to 79.40 yen from 79.08 yen.