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World shares rise on hopes for Greece support

BANGKOK (AP) — World stock markets climbed Friday after the European Union offered billions of euros in funds to help recession-mired Greece avoid a massive debt default.

Oil prices hovered below $92 a barrel, while the dollar slid against the euro and the yen with the release of more gloomy news about the U.S. economy.

In early European trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent to 5,760.96. Germany’s DAX gained 1.4 percent to 7,251.22 and France’s CAC-40 was 1.7 percent higher at 3,852.67.

Wall Street appeared set to open higher, with Dow Jones industrial futures up 0.5 percent to 12,032 and S&P 500 futures up 0.5 percent to 1,283.20.

Asian markets led the way up Friday following a modest fall in New York as concerns eased over a sovereign debt default by Greece, which experts have warned could trigger financial havoc in Europe and beyond.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was 0.9 percent higher to close at 9,678.71, with companies heavily dependent on exports showing gains as concerns over Greece eased. Consumer electronics giant Sony Corp. gained 2.4 percent while Sharp. Corp. gained 1.9 percent.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.7 percent to 2,090.81. Hynix Semiconductor Inc., one of the world’s leading memory chip makers, jumped 5.9 percent. Samsung Electronics Co. gained 2.5 percent.

Benchmarks in Australia, Singapore, and the Philippines were also higher, while those in Taiwan, Malaysia and New Zealand slipped.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.9 percent at 22,171.95, with banking shares getting a boost after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wrote a newspaper commentary indicating China is gaining control over its inflation problem. The Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., the country’s biggest rural lender, shot up 6.1 percent.

Mainland Chinese shares also gained on Wen’s comments. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 2.2 percent, the biggest gain in four months, to 2,746.21, while the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 2.3 percent to 1,136.39.

Airline stocks, which benefit from lower fuel costs, were sharply higher. Hong Kong-listed China Eastern Airlines Corp. soared 6.6 percent. Korean Air Lines climbed 4.3 percent, and Taiwan’s EVA Airways Corp. added 4.5 percent.

On Thursday, the European Union pledged to help Greece access billions of euros in development funds in an attempt to boost the country’s struggling economy and sweeten unpopular austerity measures needed to enable Greece to avert a default on its massive debts.

Barely one year after first being granted euros 110 billion in rescue loans, it has become clear that Greece will need tens of billions more to avoid defaulting on its massive debts in the coming years.

Some observers were surprised that positive utterings out of the EU about Greece were all it took to lift investor sentiment.

“Volumes are not particularly great and sentiment is very jittery. I am just a bit surprised that Asia is up on basically no good news,” said Tom Kaan, head of equity sales at Louis Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

The Dow finished with a loss of 0.5 percent to 12,050 on Thursday after more bleak figures on the jobs market. Government data showed new applications for unemployment benefits rose to 429,000 last week, from 420,000 the week before.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed down 0.3 percent to 1,283.50. The tech-focused Nasdaq composite index was up 0.7 percent to 2,686.75.

Since late April, reports on manufacturing, retail sales, home sales and other economic indicators have come in weaker than economists anticipated. Europe’s debt problems and a slowing growth rate in China have also raised concerns about the global economy.

Benchmark oil for August delivery was up 48 cents to $91.52 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $4.39 to settle at $91.02 on Thursday.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.4302 from $1.4208 on Thursday in New York. The dollar slipped to 80.22 yen from 80.58 yen.

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