Europe rides rebound in risk appetite, emerging markets shine

Marc Jones
April 9, 2014
Pedestrians look at an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo
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Pedestrians look at an electronic board showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo February 18, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 programme.

The pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.4 percent as the main markets in London, Paris and Frankfurt 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 to its highest level since late October, helped by another EM outperformance, 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.

GREECE IS THE WORD

Core euro zone bonds remained under pressure in early European trading.

But periphery debt was back in favour 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.

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by John Stonestreet)