European stocks climb awaiting Greek debt call

AFP , Monday 27 Apr 2015

European stock markets rose Monday amid ongoing Greek worries, but traders remained hopeful of a positive outcome in Greek debt talks.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 advanced 0.69 percent to 7,119.62 points in mid-afternoon trading, while Frankfurt's DAX 30 index added 1.75 percent to 12,017.62 points and in Paris the CAC 40 was up 1.36 percent at 5,272.14.

Athens' main market rose 3.50 percent, Madrid gained 1.04 percent and Milan won 1.07 percent.

In foreign exchange activity, the euro slipped to $1.0857 from $1.0873 late in New York on Friday.

"The markets have started the week on nervous footing as Greece's looming deadline and the reality that it is not in a position to meet its commitments dawns on the investment community," said IG analyst Alistair McCaig.

Greece was set to resume negotiations Monday on a deal needed to unlock 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) in remaining EU-International Monetary Fund bailout money.

Athens will recommence talks with its creditors, a Greek government source had said Sunday, after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In a bid to speed up negotiations, Tsipras met Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers.

Greece has been trying to negotiate a deal to free up the remaining bailout funds that the debt-ridden Mediterranean country needs to avoid default and a possible euro exit.

Athens is fast running out of money to pay its creditors and carry out everyday government duties, as a long series of huge loan repayments to the IMF and the European Central Bank approaches.

"While it had been widely anticipated that the Greek government would have run out of money by now it continues to stagger on, finding money from a variety of sources including local government cash reserves," added CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Despite that ability to drum up unexpected cash, however, Berenberg senior economist Christian Schulz warns that Athens won't be able to keep scrounging up spare change long.

"In Greece, political resistance against the ever more desperate attempts of the government to raise cash is slowly growing, with some municipalities and universities refusing to hand over their liquid reserves," Schulz said.

"The focus now inevitably shifts to the next payment dates as the Greek government looks to pay its monthly pension and salary commitments before Friday's scheduled payment to the IMF of about 200 million euros," Hewson added.

US stocks opened higher Monday, extending last week's record-breaking rally at the start of a busy week on Wall Street that features Apple earnings and a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.42 percent to 18,155.28 points, while the S&P 500 index advanced 0.25 percent to 2,123.00 points. The broad-market index had squeaked into record territory Friday.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.25 percent to 5,104.91 points, after setting a fresh record for a second day Friday.

Apple was up 1.8 percent ahead of its first earnings report as a member of the blue-chip Dow. The tech giant is to report second-quarter earnings after the markets close.

Back on European exchanges, shares in French IT services and consulting company Capgemini surged over seven percent to top the CAC 40 leaderboard after announcing a key US acquisition.

Capgemini revealed it was buying New Jersey-based IGATE for $4 billion (3.7 billion euros), boosting US-generated business to nearly a third of its total activity.

In reaction, investors sent the company's share price soaring 7.22 percent to 84.03 euros.

London's main mover was global bank HSBC, which topped the FTSE 100 risers, extending pre-weekend gains.

HSBC shares rallied 3.35 percent to 651.90 pence in midday London deals on media speculation over a potential divestment.

"HSBC is leading the pack, with weekend reports that it is considering spinning off its UK retail arm lifting sentiments here," said Trustnet Direct analyst Tony Cross in London.

The stock had already jumped 2.96 percent on Friday after HSBC launched a review on whether to remain headquartered in Britain, as the country increases regulation and taxation of the sector.

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