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While you were sleeping: Positive start in Europe

Tuesday 16th February 2010

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Shares in Europe began the week on a positive note ahead of a key meeting on what the euro-zone group would do to help Greece through its deficit woes.

US markets were closed for the Presidents Day holiday. Trading will resume on Wall Street tomorrow.

In Europe, the Dow Jones Stoxx 600 increased 0.4%. The UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.49%, Germany’s DAX advanced 0.19% and France’s CAC 40 edged 0.28% higher.

Renault rose 2.4%. British Airways and Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana each increased more than 2%.

It was also a banner day for banks. HSBC, Societe Generale, UBS and Deutsche Bank were up 0.2-2.6%. Barclays rose 5% ahead of full-year results on Tuesday.

More than half of the Stoxx 600 companies have reported better than expected earnings in the latest reporting season, according to Bloomberg.

However the focus of most investors has shifted to the outcome of this week’s talks on how to help Greece.

“We do not expect a clarification of how Greece is going to be rescued in an emergency,” according to Ulrich Leuchtmann, the head of currency strategy at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, Bloomberg reported. “Uncertainty about this issue is therefore likely to continue putting pressure on the euro this week.”

Euro-zone finance ministers began two days of meetings earlier today.

By 1515 GMT, the euro was down 0.2% at $US1.3591, not far from Friday's 9-month low of US$1.3532.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar edged higher by 0.1% to 80.403.

Copper for delivery in three months climbed US$53, or 0.8%, to US$6863 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, extending last week’s 8.4% rise.

Spot gold was bid at US$1100.25 an ounce at 1013 GMT, against US$1092.40 late in New York on Friday.

Crude oil fell 0.5% to US$73.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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