Tension is likely to ease in Europe after eurozone governments agreed on Wednesday to release Greece's bailout money. Reuters reports:
After a conference call, the board of the European Financial Stability Facility, the 700 billion euro bailout fund administered by the 17 countries that use the euro, agreed to make the scheduled payment, which will allow Greece to meet near-term bond redemptions and other obligations.
An initial 4.2 billion euros will be paid on Thursday, while the remaining 1 billion will be paid out later, "depending on the financing needs of Greece," a statement said.
Economic data for the euro area on Wednesday were mixed.
German exports rose 0.9 percent in March, rising for the third consecutive month. Imports rose 1.2 percent.
However, French exports fell 1.5 percent. Imports fell 2.6 percent.
Outside Europe, there were positive data from Japan. Its leading index of economic indicators rose for the third consecutive month to 96.6 in March from 96.0 in February. The coincident index rose to 96.5 from 95.2 in February.