Friday, 1 July 2011

Markets rise on Greek vote

Markets were buoyant on Thursday as the Greek parliament voted for austerity for a second consecutive day. Reuters reports:

World stocks rose to a one-month high and the euro closed out a second straight quarter of gains against the dollar on Thursday as Greece approved the final austerity measures needed to secure international funding and avert imminent bankruptcy...

The Greek Parliament approved on Thursday detailed austerity and privatization bills required by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for emergency funding.

The price of copper, a key industrial metal, ended at a two-month high as appetite for risk rose. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $9,430 a tonne -- its highest price since the end of April...

In equity markets, the MSCI All-Country World Index climbed 1.3 percent to its highest level since June 2.

Positive data on the US economy helped market sentiment.

Factory activity in the U.S. Midwest accelerated in June, fostering hopes for a pick-up in economic growth in the third quarter, despite signs of lingering weakness in the labor market.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago said on Thursday that its business barometer jumped to 61.1 after slowing abruptly to 56.6 in May. The gain defied economists' expectations for a drop to 54...

But optimism was tempered somewhat by a separate report from the Labor Department showing initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped just 1,000 to 428,000 last week. Economists had expected claims to drop to 420,000...

The brightening manufacturing picture was enhanced by a Kansas City Fed survey that showed factory production in its region rebounded strongly this month after slumping in May.

There were also signs on Thursday that US home prices are rebounding.

Home prices rose for the second month in a row in May but fell compared to a year earlier, data analysis company CoreLogic said on Thursday.

CoreLogic's home price index rose 0.8 percent in May from the month before, though prices were still down 7.4 percent from a year ago. Excluding distressed sales, prices declined just 0.4 percent year-over-year.

In the UK though, house prices stagnated in June.

House prices in England and Wales held steady in June, and this trend of broadly static prices is likely to continue for the rest of the year, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Thursday.

Nationwide's June house price index showed no change on the month, compared to a 0.3 percent rise in May, and was 1.1 percent lower on the year.

However, consumer prices in the euro area continued to rise.

The European Union's statistics office said consumer prices in the 17 countries using the euro were 2.7 percent higher in June than a year earlier, the same as in May. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a figure of 2.8 percent...

Euro zone money supply growth accelerated in May, while growth of loans to the private sector in the euro zone rose.

Unemployment in Germany -- Europe's largest economy -- fell less than expected and German retail sales dropped at their fastest rate in four years in May, though economists said an E.coli outbreak that led to a fall in food sales was a major factor.

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