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A man walks past an index board at a hall of the Athens Stock Exchange in Athens October 27, 2011. (YIORGOS KARAHALIS/Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters)
A man walks past an index board at a hall of the Athens Stock Exchange in Athens October 27, 2011. (YIORGOS KARAHALIS/Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters)

World stocks, euro jump to 2-month high on EU crisis deal Add to ...

World stocks and the euro rose to their highest levels in nearly two months on Thursday after European leaders struck a deal to resolve a two-year-old sovereign debt crisis, which threatens the survival of the single currency.

Brent crude and copper prices also rallied. Prices of safe-haven U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds fell, though those of highly indebted euro zone countries gained.

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As concerns of a near-term default eased, the cost of insuring Greek debt against default also fell.

The deal, announced in the early hours of Thursday, will see private bondholders of Greek debt accept a 50 per cent loss on their investment, while banks will be recapitalized and the size of the currency bloc’s rescue fund will be leveraged to €1-trillion ($1.4-trillion U.S.).

“Full credit to them for achieving something, even if it’s not the be all and end all that we’d all really like but it takes us further away from the edge of the abyss for the time being,” Nomura rate strategist Sean Maloney said.

Europe’s FTSEurofirst 300 gained 2.6 per cent, while European bank shares, which have been hit by concerns that a Greek default would lead to a banking crisis, surged 5.8 per cent, with Greek bank stocks up 7.8 per cent.

Greece’s share benchmark climbed 3.5 per cent and yields on 10-year Greek government bonds fell 67.2 basis points to 24.352 per cent, while yields on Italy’s 10-year government bonds slipped 19.6 basis points to 5.735 per cent, also helped by the European Central Bank’s bond buying, traders said.

World stocks measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 1.8 per cent to hit their highest level since early September.

The global benchmark is up 10.8 per cent so far this month, on track for its biggest monthly gain in more than two years, driven by hopes that euro zone policy makers would announce a decisive plan to end the turmoil at the summit.

Copper was up 2.8 per cent on Thursday and on track for its best weekly percentage gain since February 2009, while Brent crude rose 1.5 per cent to above $110 a barrel.

TOUGH ROAD AHEAD

But analysts said more work would still be needed to solve the bloc’s problems.

“It would be clearly premature to declare the euro crisis as fully resolved. Much more needs to be done, especially regarding fiscal consolidation,” Credit Suisse Private Banking said.

“Achieving such a consolidation will be difficult in a phase of slow growth, or in some cases recession.”

“Nevertheless, it is our impression that EU leaders have made significant progress on all fronts. This suggests that the rebound in risk assets that has been under way in recent days may well continue for some time.”

The euro was up 0.8 per cent at $1.4011 and 0.3 per cent at ¥106.24.

“The market was short risk and long dollars, so this has boosted the euro. But above $1.40, the air is a bit thin for the euro and it is likely to struggle there,” Paul Robson, currency strategist at RBS Global Banking, said.

The announcement also boosted high-yielding currencies, with the Australian dollar up 1.9 per cent at $1.0594.

The dollar zeroed in on a record low against the yen after the Bank of Japan, as widely expected, decided to ease policy by expanding asset purchases by ¥5-trillion ($65.8-billion U.S.), to ¥20-trillion.

The dollar was down 0.5 per cent at ¥75.83 , not far from the record low of ¥75.71 plumbed the day before.

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