Stocks muted ahead of emergency meeting on Greek debt

AP News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2015 8:22 AM
Stocks muted ahead of emergency meeting on Greek debt

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stocks were muted Wednesday as investors turned their focus to an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers that will discuss Greece's appeal for more generous bailout conditions.

KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 fell 0.4 percent to 4,675.42 and Germany's DAX edged down 0.2 percent to 10,737.80. Britain's FTSE 100 was down 0.4 percent to 6,799.73. Futures augured a weak start for Wall Street. S&P 500 and Dow futures were both down 0.2 percent.

GREEK DRAMA: Finance ministers from euro nations are holding an emergency meeting in Brussels on Greece later Wednesday, which will be the group's first opportunity to hear directly from the new government. Greece wants to renegotiate the terms of its international bailout that has imposed years of punishing austerity on the country; the current agreement expires in late February. Speculation that Greece could be granted extra time to hold new negotiations buoyed markets Tuesday. On Wednesday, however, there was somewhat less optimism — the Athens index was down over 3 percent.

THE QUOTE: "The headlines out of this meeting will dictate the price action for global markets," Stan Shamu, market strategist at IG, said in a commentary. "At the moment, it seems European leaders and Greece are willing to meet each other in the middle and this has comforted investors' concerns after the aggressive tone by Greek Prime Minister Tsipras over the weekend."

ASIA'S DAY: South Korea's Kospi rose 0.5 percent to 1,945.70 and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.5 percent to 3,157.70. Stocks in Southeast Asia and Taiwan also rose. Hong Kong was among the few Asian markets in the red; the Hang Seng fell 0.9 percent to 24,315.02. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.5 percent to 5,769.10. Japan was closed for a holiday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 29 cents to $49.73 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.84 to close at $50.02 a barrel on Tuesday. The International Energy Agency said that the recent rebound in oil prices "will be comparatively limited in scope."

CURRENCIES: The dollar strengthened to 119.75 yen from 119.35 yen. The euro inched down to $1.1316 from $1.1319.