Asian stock markets rise but uncertainty over Greece bailout lingers with new deadline

EnergyAssociated Press

Asian stock markets were higher Monday, extending a recovery from turmoil last week, but attention remained nervously focused on a teetering Greece as investors awaited word whether a bailout deal with European creditors can be reached.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 1.2 percent to 20,009.59 in morning trading. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.8 percent to 2,047.46. Hong Kong's Hang Seng inched up 0.2 percent to 24,950.30. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.4 percent to 3,932.50, steadying after a slew of government measures to halt a dramatic slide. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.8 percent to 5,535.80. Other regional markets were also mostly higher, including Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.

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GREECE FACTOR: European leaders have been gathered to negotiate another bailout for indebted Greece. Talks are stuck on how Greece would guarantee austerity measures in exchange for a rescue package to prevent its banks from collapsing. Greece now has until Wednesday to show how it would implement austerity plans.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "From the perspective of those seeking reform in Greece, current bank closures appear to represent an opportunity to maximize pressure and force immediate action by the Greek parliament," said Ric Spooner, chief analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. "However, the fact that European leaders are prepared to run the gauntlet of a potential Grexit, also suggests that they don't perceive a major risk of wider market or economic dislocation if Greece does leave the euro," he wrote in a commentary.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 25.31 points, or 1.2 percent, to close Friday at 2,076.62. The gain pushed the S&P 500 back into positive territory for the year. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 211.79 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,760.41. The Nasdaq composite gained 75.30 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,997.70.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude was down 88 cents to $51.87 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, lost $1.07 to $57.66 a barrel in London. Oil prices have dropped as expectations grow that a provisional agreement may be reached soon on the Iran nuclear talks to curb the country's atomic program in return for tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.1132 from $1.1157 on Friday. The dollar cost 122.63 yen, down from 122.76 yen.


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