Bloomberg News

Stocks, Metals Gain as China Cuts Reserve Ratio; Euro Advances

February 20, 2012

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks rose for a fourth day and metals rallied after China’s central bank cut reserve requirements for lenders. The euro and Italian bonds gained as European leaders prepared to discuss a Greek rescue.

The MSCI All-Country World Index added 0.6 percent to a six-month high at 5:10 p.m. New York time. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.5 percent. U.S. markets are closed for a holiday. The euro appreciated 0.8 percent to $1.3243, and the yield on the 10-year Italian note fell 10 basis points. Copper broke a six-day losing streak in London. Oil climbed to a nine- month high as Iran said it halted some crude exports.

Finance ministers gathering today in Brussels will try to settle remaining disputes to wrap up a 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) bailout to fend off a Greek default. The proportion of cash that Chinese lenders must set aside will be cut by half a percentage point, the central bank said Feb. 18.

“The market is once again hoping and expecting a deal in Greece, and that’s lifting risk appetite,” said Niels Christensen, chief currency strategist at Nordea Bank AB in Copenhagen. Investors “are looking to China to generate growth, so it’s very important that officials are supporting the growth outlook. It also fits into the broader picture with most central banks in an easing mode, very focused on securing monetary conditions that are stimulating to growth,” he said.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.8 percent to the highest since July as almost five companies rose for each the fell. TNT Express NV surged 60 percent after Europe’s second- largest express-delivery service rejected a $6.43 billion takeover offer from United Parcel Service Inc. PostNL NV, which owns 29.9 percent of TNT Express after a spin off from Dutch postal operator TNT NV in May, rose 50 percent.

Euro, Yen

The euro climbed 0.9 percent versus the yen. The Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against those of six trading partners, declined 0.4 percent.

The yield on the Greek bond due October 2022 declined 54 basis points to 33.84 percent. The Spanish 10-year yield slipped 10 basis points, while the German 10-year bund yield rose four basis points.

Copper added 0.7 percent in London. Oil in New York jumped as much 2.1 percent to $105.44 a barrel, the highest price for a most-active contract since May 5. Iran will supply crude to “new customers” instead of companies in the U.K. and France, according to the oil ministry’s news website, Shana, citing Alireza Nikzad Rahbar, a spokesman.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index increased 0.4 percent, climbing to the highest level since Aug. 4. Russia’s Micex Index rose 0.7 percent on higher oil. Benchmark gauges climbed 1.1 percent in Hungary and 0.6 percent in Turkey. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong retreated 0.4 percent. India was closed for a public holiday.

--With assistance from Claudia Carpenter, Andrew Rummer, Michael Shanahan, Daniel Tilles and Jason Webb in London and Lukanyo Mnyanda in Edinburgh. Editors: Stephen Kirkland, Nick Baker

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Kirkland in London at skirkland@bloomberg.net; Lynn Thomasson in Hong Kong at lthomasson@bloomberg.net

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


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