Stocks Hit Near Five-month High but Greek Talks Keep Markets on Edge


Stocks Hit Near Five-month High but Greek Talks Keep Markets on Edge

Global shares hit the highest level since September, and the euro gained strength with investors cautiously optimistic that the euro zone finance ministers would reach a funding deal for Greece.

The prospect of Greece and its partners reaching a debt deal agreement assisted in pushing yields on low-risk government bonds higher, though both sides struck hardline postures as the talks began at 9 a.m. ET.

Reuters quoted John Bilton, head of the global multi-asset strategy team at JP Morgan Asset Management as having said, “There is an underlying view that there has to be a resolution, not least because Greece apparently has little or no bargaining power.”

The MSCI all-country world stocks index, which has been on the rise the last few days on the ceasefire in Ukraine and hopes for a Greek deal, hit the highest since September 22. It was last fractionally up on the day at 427.95 points.

The Nikkei of Tokyo closed at the highest since Jul 2007, buoyed by the record close on Friday in the US S&P 500 index after data showed that Japan emerged from recession in the last quarter of 2014, although the 0.6% growth was below the forecast.

US financial markets were closed on Monday for the President’s Day holiday.

Bloomberg reported that the Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 0.1% to 376.55 on Monday, closing little changed after dropping as much as 0.3%. The Greece ASE index declined 3.8%, the most among the 18 western-European markets.

The euro climbed 0.2% to $1.1407.

Susan Galler, strategist at Jefferies in London said, This can quickly turn sour for the euro if there is no deal today. The market consensus is for them to do a deal by the end of this week. But we think that if there’s no deal today and the clock starts ticking then the euro will look increasingly vulnerable.”

To contact the reporter of the story: Jonathan Millet at