World stocks fall after Greece aid delayed

Topics: From the Wires,

BANGKOK (AP) — World stock markets were mostly lower Wednesday after European Union officials held off on releasing a loan to debt-mired Greece and postposed further action until next week.

European finance ministers adjourned a meeting in Brussels without granting Greece the next installment of an emergency bailout loan that has been on hold for months. The €31.5 billion ($40 billion) loan is needed so Athens can pay its bills and avoid running out of cash.

Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent to 5,741.12. Germany’s DAX lost 0.2 percent to 7,161.27. France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.3 percent to 3,450.24.

Futures augured losses on Wall Street. Dow Jones industrial futures fell 0.1 percent to 12,746. S&P 500 futures lost 0.2 percent to 1,383.50.

The aid for Greece is being delayed until officials can resolve a dispute over whether to give Athens an extra two years to get to a point where it can independently raise funds on bond markets. Greece has been locked out of the international long-term debt market since 2010 and thus relies on rescue loans.

The reform program attached to the bailout was to steadily reduce Greece’s debt to 120 percent of its annual gross domestic product by a 2020 deadline. But some officials say the deadline may have been too ambitious and that Greece needs two more years.

Asia stocks were mixed. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent to close at 9,222.52, with export shares enjoying the benefits of a weakened yen.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.4 percent to 21,524.36. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.1 percent to 2,030.32 while the smaller Shenzhen Composite Index advanced 1.1 percent to 808.

Peng Yunliang, an analyst based in Shanghai, said the gains were likely due to expectations that manufacturing data due to be released Thursday would point toward an improvement in the Chinese economy.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.3 percent to 1,884.04. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.4 percent at 4,369.50. Benchmarks in Thailand, New Zealand and Taiwan also were lower.



Among individual stocks, Japanese snack food maker Calbee dropped 4.3 percent after announcing the recall of millions of bags of potato chips due to possible contamination with glass fragments.

Benchmark oil for January delivery was up 24 cents at $86.99 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.53 to close at $86.75 a barrel on Tuesday after signs that Israel and Hamas are close to putting a halt to fighting that has lasted nearly a week.

In currencies, the dollar rose to 82.18 yen from 81.71 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro fell to $1.2778 from $1.2807.

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AP researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed.

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