LONDON: Stocks continued their relentless march higher on Wednesday as investors shrugged off the protracted uncertainty surrounding Greece’s debt negotiations with its creditors, pinning their hopes that a deal will be reached by the end of the week.
The Greek government said it would request a loan extension from its creditors on Wednesday, expected to be for up to six months with conditions yet to be negotiated, and the European Central Bank will announce it won’t cut off emergency funding for Greek banks, a source told Reuters.
Europe’s main bourses followed Asia and Wall Street higher. In early trade the FTSEuroFirst 300 index of leading
European shares was up 0.5 percent at a fresh seven year high of 1,511 points, and Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent to 6,921 points, its highest since January 2000.
“The tone between Greece and other European partners (is) less harsh but an agreement is still far from being reached.
We still expect an agreement will be reached before the end of February, but we also see room for volatility until that time,”
BNP Paribas said on Wednesday.
France’s CAC 40 share index and Germany’s DAX both rose 0.4 percent, while Greek stocks clawed back some of this week’s losses to trade 3 percent higher.
European financials were among the biggest gainers, up 1.7 percent.
Earlier in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent. The region’s outstanding performers included Indonesian stocks, which hit a record high a day after the country’s central bank cut interest rates just three months after hiking them.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to its highest since July 2007.
There was little reaction to the Bank of Japan’s well anticipated decision to stand pat on monetary policy and maintain its massive stimulus.
U.S. shares are called to open slightly higher, building on Tuesday’s gains that pushed the S&P 500 to another record high.