Bloomberg News

Stocks Rise, Euro Recovers as Juncker Eases Debt Crisis Concerns

June 20, 2011

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. equities climbed for a third day, while the euro erased losses and European stocks pared declines, amid European assurances that a solution will be found to spare Greece from default. Treasuries reversed gains.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.5 percent to 1,278.36 at 4 p.m. in New York and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.5 percent, recovering more than half of a 1.1 percent slide. The 10-year Treasury note yield was up one basis point at 2.95 after sinking as much as six points. The S&P GSCI Index of commodities fell for a fourth day, with wheat, heating oil and coffee leading declines. The euro was little changed at $1.4301 after earlier sinking as much as 0.8 percent.

The 17-nation shared euro currency also erased its decline versus the yen as Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker said Italy was not in danger from the debt crisis. Juncker said Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had assured him the government would do everything to ensure financial aid from the European Union and International Monetary Fund before the Greek parliament resumes debating a motion of confidence in the government.

“We may be past the point of maximum pessimism,” said Madelynn Matlock, who helps oversee $14.8 billion at Huntington Asset Advisors in Cincinnati. “Looking at the consequences of not funding Greece, they will do it,” she said. “The goal is making sure that the global financial system stays operating. The market is a whole lot cheaper than it was. Still, we’re going to have ups and downs on a daily basis. It’s not going to be calm and smooth sailing for the next several months.”

Greece Negotiations

Earlier losses in stocks and the euro were triggered by European officials’ failure to agree on a Greek loan payout. Euro-area finance ministers who met yesterday in Luxembourg put off a decision on whether Greece will get the full 12 billion euros ($17 billion) promised for July and pushed for the nation to press ahead with budget cuts. Prime Minister Papandreou faces a confidence vote this week.

Assurances by Luxembourg’s Juncker, who leads the group of euro-area finance ministers, helped reverse the market declines. Juncker said private investors will be “present” in any second rescue package for Greece, though he said he doesn’t know if they’ll be “enthusiastic.”

The IMF is focused on getting Greece’s first bailout program on track, Acting Managing Director John Lipsky told reporters in Luxembourg today. Greece hasn’t approached the agency to ask for additional aid, he said.

Third Straight Gain

The S&P 500 rose for a third straight day after snapping a streak of six weekly losses on June 17. The index is down 6.3 percent from an almost three-year high at the end of April, trimming its 2011 gain to less than 2 percent, as lower-than- forecast data on jobs growth and manufacturing spurred concern the economic expansion is slowing.

Caterpillar Inc. rose 2.3 percent for the top gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average after being raised to “strong buy” at Raymond James & Associates. DuPont Co. and Microsoft Corp. also climbed more than 0.8 percent to help lead gains in 25 of 30 Dow stocks.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. reduced its second-quarter growth forecast for the world’s largest economy to 2 percent from 3 percent. Reports this week will probably show home sales dropped in May to the lowest level of the year, while orders placed with factories increased, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Falling Commodities

The S&P GSCI index of 24 commodities fell 0.3 percent for a fourth straight decline, the longest selloff since May 6, as wheat, heating oil and coffee fell at least 1.7 percent. New York-traded oil rose 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $93.26 a barrel after sliding as much as 2 percent earlier. Copper fell 0.5 percent.

Bank shares were the biggest drag of 19 industry groups in Europe’s Stoxx 600, with Banca Popolare di Milano Scrl plunging 7.4 percent and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA tumbling 2.6 percent.

The Swiss franc strengthened against its 16 major peers. The Australian dollar fell versus all of its biggest counterparts, losing 0.5 percent against the U.S. currency.

The U.S. currency rose against higher yielding counterparts such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars as strategists speculated that the Federal Reserve won’t signal a third round of quantitative easing after a meeting on June 22. The Federal Open Market Committee has kept its benchmark rate unchanged between zero and 0.25 percent since December 2008.

Greek 10-year bonds slid, driving the yield up 40 basis points to 17.34 percent. The extra yield, or spread, investors demand to hold the securities instead of benchmark German bunds increased 40 basis points to 1,438 basis points.

Italian-German Spread

The Italian-German spread widened three basis points after Moody’s put Italy’s Aa2 rating on review for a downgrade June 17, citing economic growth challenges, risks associated with efforts to reduce debt and the potential for higher borrowing costs.

The Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of credit- default swaps erased earlier gains, dropping 1.3 basis point to a mid-price of 221.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index slid 0.4 percent, falling for a fourth day. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index sank 2 percent after a report that the government sought to tax gains on investments routed through Mauritius. Turkey’s ISE National 100 Index lost 1.2 percent after regulators increased provisions that lenders must make against some consumer loans. Russia’s Micex Index slipped 1.2 percent on lower oil.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.4 percent as energy and raw-material producers led losses. BHP Billiton Ltd., Australia’s biggest oil producer, sank 1.4 percent in Sydney. Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the world’s biggest developer by market value, lost 2 percent in Hong Kong after Walter Kwok, a former chairman, said the city’s property prices may fall as much as 15 percent by the end of the year.

Japanese power companies advanced after the government said it may allow atomic reactors to restart following the worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

--With assistance from Claudia Carpenter, Will Hadfield, Michael Shanahan and Dan Tilles in London. Editors: Jeff Sutherland, Michael Regan

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To contact the reporters on this story: Rita Nazareth in New York at rnazareth@bloomberg.net; Allison Bennett in New York at abennett23@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net.


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