Global stock markets mostly higher as Greece passes new bailout hurdle, New Zealand cuts rates

Energy Associated Press

Global stock markets were mostly higher Thursday after Greece passed another bailout hurdle and New Zealand cut interest rates.

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KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 was up nearly 0.2 percent at 5,091.39 in early trading. Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent to 11,545.02. Britain's FTSE 100 gained a slight 0.03 percent to 6,669.35. U.S. shares were set to drift higher with S&P 500 futures adding 0.1 percent to 2,109.50. Dow futures were up 0.1 percent to 17,798.00.

KIWI FLIES: The New Zealand dollar, also known as the Kiwi, jumped as much as 1.2 percent after the country's central bank cut interest rates by a smaller-than-expected quarter percentage point. Expectations were for a half percentage point cut. The central bank indicated it expected inflation to return to near its targets next year, which reduces the chance of further interest rate cuts that would weigh on the currency.

GREECE CRISIS: Greece's parliament approved new creditor-demanded reforms despite a revolt among hardliners in the ruling coalition. The reforms to the judiciary and banking systems were the final hurdle the financially-battered country was obliged to clear before it can start talks with its creditors on a third bailout worth around 85 billion euros ($93 billion). Without the money Greece would face financial ruin and forced exit from the euro currency club.

THE QUOTE: "The environment is much calmer after the two sources of risk, namely Greece and China, are now very much out of the way. Lingering uncertainties remain but short-term risks are small," Credit Agricole said in a market commentary. "For emerging market assets, however, there will be little relief with the Fed looming in the background," the bank said, referring to the possibility of a U.S. interest rate hike in September.

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.4 percent to close at 20,683.95 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.5 percent to 25,398.85. The Shanghai Composite index gained 2.4 percent to 4,123.92. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 inched down 0.4 percent to 5,590.30. South Korea's Kospi was little changed at 2,065.07. Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher.

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ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was up 16 cents to $49.35 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, added 4 cents to $56.17 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 123.79 yen from 124.03 yen in the previous global trading session. The euro rose to $1.0997 from $1.0926.

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