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    MORNING BELL: Greek debt swap plan gets cool euro zone reception

    Asian stocks rebounded from an almost two-week low, led by material and energy companies, after an advance in U.S. equities as oil entered a bull market. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.8 percent to 140.97 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, after closing yesterday at its lowest since Jan. 22. Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, finished yesterday more than 20 percent above its Jan. 13 settlement on speculation that reduced investment would curb crude production. The S&P 500 Index rose for a second day as energy producers rallied. Benchmark Brent crude oil finished Tuesday with a gain of $2.25 to $57.00 a barrel, having been as high as $59 at one stage. U.S. crude was quoted at $51.91 in erratic trade, after rising 7 percent on Tuesday. The bounce in oil forced a wave of short covering in commodity currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars, mainly at the cost of their U.S. counterpart.

    The U.S. dollar index dropped 0.9 percent on Tuesday for its biggest one-day fall since Oct. 2013, before steadying at 93.708 in early Asian trading. The shift helped lift the euro to $1.1488, a reversal from Tuesday's low of $1.1312. The only calm spot was the dollar against the yen which remained remarkably steady around 117.48. In share markets, Nikkei futures pointed to an early gain of over 100 points while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7 percent. Australia's main share index climbed 1.4 percent to a near seven-year peak as bulls basked in the glow of Tuesday's cut in domestic interest rates. On Wall Street, the Dow had ended Tuesday 1.76 percent higher, while the S&P 500 gained 1.44 percent and the Nasdaq 1.09 percent.

    On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery shed $9.00, or 0.7%, to trade at $1,261.00 a troy ounce during U.S. morning hours. Appetite for safe haven assets weakened after the Greek government outlined its plans to renegotiate the terms of its bailout with its creditors, retreating from demands for a debt write-down. But euro zone officials said the ECB was unlikely to agree to hold growth-linked or perpetual Greek bonds -- paper that never matures but pays a relatively high annual interest -- and that the financial conditions Greece now had from the euro zone bailout fund, the EFSF, could hardly be improved on.

     

     

     

     


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