GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks aided by EU Greek pledge; euro still weak

Worldstocks rose on Friday as a pledge by European leaders to support Greece prompted some relief among investors, but gains were limited by the lack of detail and the euro continued to fall. The European Union sent a “clear message of solidarity” with Greece, tempering fears of a broader crisis in the single currency bloc, although investors are still nervous other countries may see similar trouble.  The next focus for the market on the fiscal saga is meetings early next week between EU finance ministers. Ahead of this, analysts said markets are likely to remain jittery. The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.4 percent while European stocks looked set to extend their winning run to a fifth day, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 gaining as much as 1 percent to climb above the key 1,000 level. “We are in a very volatile environment. [Read the full article]

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* Stock index futures pointed to a mostly lower open for U.S. shares on Friday, following strong gains in the previous session, as a pledge by European leaders to support Greece eased worries about a crisis in the euro zone. * At 0931 GMT, futures for the Dow Jones DJc1 were flat; those for the S&P 500 SPc1 and Nasdaq NDc1 were down 0.1 percent. * The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of leading European shares was up 0.8 percent at 998.38 points, gaining for a fifth day, with oils among the strongest performers. ENI (ENI.MI) was up 1.8 percent after its results beat expectations. * U.S. retail sales for January, due at 1330 GMT, are likely to show weakness due to being held back by lower auto sales. * Core retail sales — excluding autos, gasoline and building materials — probably resumed their upward trend after stumbling in December. The median forecast for retail sales is for a rise of 0.3 percent after a fall of 0.3 percent in December. [Read the full article]

The dollar and European and U.S. bonds jumped broadly while stocks fell on Friday after China’s central bank raised reserve requirements by 0.5 percentage points. Chinese monetary tightening spooked investors as they pulled back from riskier assets, buoying the dollar which rose 0.7 percent against a basket of currencies to 80.563 .DXY. The Australian dollar, which is closely linked to the fortunes of China’s economy, fell to the day’s low of $0.8823 AUD=D4 and also sank to 79.42 yen AUDJPY=R. U.S. stock index futures DJc1 SPc1 NDc1 fell further, down 0.3 to 0.6 percent by 1008 GMT. The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 pared gains, up 0.3 percent at 993.58 points by 1002 GMT. Euro zone government bond futures FGBLc1 and U.S. Treasuries extended gains after the Chinese announcement. March Bund futures rose to a session high of 123.34, up 19 ticks on the day while the U.S. [Read the full article]

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European shares turned negative in Friday morning trade, with banks the major fallers and miners retreating from earlier gains as metal prices slipped after China’s central bank raised reserve requirements. By 1029 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares was down 0.2 percent at 988.94 points after being up as much as 1,002.50. Banks took the most points off the index. HSBC (HSBA.L), BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA), Banco Santander (SAN.MC) and Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) fell 1.9 to 3.6 percent. Miners slipped, with Antofagasta (ANTO.L), Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC.L), Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and Xstrata (XTA.L) down 1.7 to 2.9 percent. (Reporting by Joanne Frearson) BEIJING (Reuters) – China raised the level of reserves banks must hold for the second time this year on Friday, spooking financial markets on the eve of its New Year holiday by showing it was intent to curb lending and inflation. [Read the full article]

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