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MORNING BELL: Greece debt fears sting euro, steady dollar

The euro declined against other major currencies on Friday, weighed down by anxieties Greece may soon default on debts that also drove safe-haven buying of the dollar. Greece is days away from potentially missing debt repayments of 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund, and investors are looking to an emergency meeting next week where euro zone leaders will try to find a way to unlock aid for Athens.

Sterling hit a seven-year high against a trade-weighted basket of currencies on Friday, bolstered by expectations that British interest rates could start to rise earlier than previously thought on the back of some robust data. A more than 2% weekly gain against the dollar has made the British currency the darling of the foreign-exchange market. It has outperformed all of its industrialized peers.

Oil futures took a hit on Friday to tally a loss for the week as traders bet on a further rise in Saudi crude output, worried about energy demand on the heels of Greece’s ongoing debt drama and monitored negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Gold futures fell modestly on Friday, but scored a 1.9% gain for the week as investors continued to watch developments tied to Greece's debt woes in order to gauge interest in the precious metal.




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