Turkish markets up on EU hopes

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish bonds and shares closed stronger yesterday with stocks hitting a fresh record high as investors gained in confidence regarding the planned start of Turkey’s European Union entry talks on October 3. The main share index ended 3.36 percent higher at 31,947.95, building on a rally on Wednesday when the index closed up 2.97 percent. Yields on the benchmark March 7, 2007 bond fell to 16.06 percent from 16.22 percent on Wednesday. Market attention was particularly focused on a two-day meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Wales. «The EU meeting is setting the direction for the market and people are also looking ahead to inflation,» said one banker. EU ministers are expected to rebuke Turkey over its refusal to recognize EU member Cyprus, and Nicosia has threatened to block the start of Ankara’s membership talks if it is not satisfied. In Wales, the EU foreign ministers will discuss a negotiating framework for the entry talks – the last formal obstacle to the start of the negotiations. August inflation data is scheduled for release today after the markets close.