BUSINESS

Europe rides rebound in risk appetite, emerging markets shine

Revived appetite for emerging markets helped Asian stocks hit a near six-month high on Wednesday, leaving Europe and other developed markets - where future stimulus looks increasingly uncertain - trailing.

It was an easier start for European bourses after a difficult couple of days during which tensions have escalated in Ukraine and the European Central Bank has tempered expectations of new mass asset-buying program.

The pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 rose 0.4 percent as the main markets in London .FTSE, Paris .FCHI and Frankfurt .GDAXI helped claw back some of the 1.2 percent the FTSEurofirst that has lost so far this week.

In the currency market, the euro and sterling both remained firm as the dollar retook a bit of the ground it has lost against a rallying yen in recent days.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday predicted the global recovery would strengthen this year and next as output in richer nations picked up.

It was emerging markets, however, that got the thumbs-up from investors again on Wednesday.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had advanced almost 1 percent .MIAPJ0000PUS to its highest level since late October, helped by another EM outperformance .MSCIEF, both in stocks and currencies.

Talk that China could be readying new economic support measures has helped investors largely put aside worries about geopolitics and slowing U.S. stimulus that fuelled a turbulent start to the year for EM assets.

Core eurozone bonds remained under pressure in early European trading.

But periphery debt was back in favor as chatter focused on talk Greece could announce its return to bond markets later, just two years after a spectacular default that saw investors lose 70 percent of their cash.

Rising tensions in Ukraine tempered the revival of risk appetite. The United States accused Russian agents and special forces on Tuesday of stirring the unrest, saying Moscow could be eyeing military action as it had in Crimea.

Brent stood little-changed at $107.34 a barrel, holding most of the gains made when it surged 1.7 percent on Tuesday.

[Reuters]

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