Global Shares Make a Comeback on Renewed Greek Talks

Markets Reuters

Stock markets shrugged off losses on Wednesday and Wall Street looked set for gains after the European Union confirmed negotiators would return to Greece this week to discuss issuing its next tranche of aid.

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It was the latest in a series of headlines which have not changed the overall picture in the euro zone crisis, but underline the jittery nature of markets which are ebbing and flowing -- often without any clear justification.

It has been widely expected that the EU, IMF and European Central Bank would eventually approve the release of money Greece needs to avoid default but the announcement added to hopes of broader progress in dealing with the crisis.

"The market has obviously got enthusiastic about discussions about the European Financial Stability Fund," said Andrea Williams, fund manager at Royal London Asset Management.

"But we are a long way from it being concluded."

World stocks as measured by MSCI were up 0.2 percent. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was particularly volatile, opening sharply lower but later trading up around 0.1 percent.

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Equity markets have rallied over the past few sessions on expectations that European officials will aggressively tackle the debt crisis in its peripheral economies, notably Greece, by boosting the euro zone's 440 billion euro rescue fund (EFSF).

Many analysts have stressed markets may be expecting too much for policymakers to come up with a definitive plan in the next few weeks, and indeed it is hard to find traders in Europe who actually subscribe to such a view.

An increase in the EFSF faces opposition in Germany and there are signs of a split within the currency bloc over the terms of Greece's next bailout.

The European index has lost more than 16 percent this year.

Japan's Nikkei earlier closed flat.

EURO LEVELS

The euro extended gains, hitting a one-week high against the dollar, after the Commission announcement.

It rose as high as $1.36909, according to EBS data, surpassing Tuesday's high of $1.3668.

"The market seems to have a belief that Europe is facing up to the problems and it's risk back on," a London-based trader said.

Core euro zone debt was lower with yields rising.

Demand for German government bonds in a five-year sale was weak, although they were sold at a yield of just 1.22 percent compared with 2.16 percent in the previous auction.

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