Global stocks extend rally, euro takes breather

By Anirban Nag

Safe-haven debt stayed under pressure with German Bund futures extending losses as investors focused on an Italian bond auction -- a key test of appetite for non triple-A rated euro zone paper. Only last week, yields on Italian debt rose to 6.1 percent, their highest since early August.

Risk appetite was further supported by Thursday's U.S. data showing the world's largest economy grew at its fastest pace in a year in the third quarter, a welcome relief for investors who have been pricing in the risk of a double-dip recession.

With markets for the time being shrugging off the lack of detail in Thursday's anti-crisis measures in Europe, the region's shares extended the previous session's sharp rally.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of leading European shares was up 0.2 percent at 1,021.67 points in early trade.

The benchmark index is up 10.6 percent so far this month and is on track for its biggest monthly rise since April 2009, though it is still down 9 percent for the year.

World stocks as measured by the MSCI index <.MIWD00000PUS> was up 0.4 percent at 319.02 --hovering at its highest level in nearly three months.

"There's no sign of a let-up in the abundant confidence of traders following the outcome of the European summit," said Stan Shamu, analyst at IG Markets.

"However there's still the debate as to just how comprehensive this current plan is and certainly any further stumbles along the path to economic recovery would reignite worries over the future of the single currency."

Euro zone leaders are now under pressure to finalize details of their plan to slash Greece's debt and strengthen the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF), possibly through investment by emerging economies like China and Brazil.


Investors' focus is also shifting to a Group of 20 meeting next week in Cannes, southern France.

For the moment, investors welcomed progress euro zone politicians were making, and were shrugging off the lack of details.

The euro edged down to $1.4155, taking a breather from a rally Thursday which took it to a seven-week high of $1.4248. The dollar index <.DXY> was up 0.26 percent after falling some 1.6 percent, its biggest one-day fall since May 2009.

Brent crude slipped to around $111.57, but prices have posted a weekly gain of almost 2 percent. Spot gold held steady at $1,738.60 an ounce and was poised for its biggest weekly gain since January 2009.

(Editing by John Stonestreet)