Greek tap dance continues

February 3, 2015 09:19 AM

Stocks climbed in Europe and Greek bonds rallied after the government retreated from its call for a debt writedown. Oil gained for a fourth day and Russia’s ruble led emerging-market currencies higher.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 0.6% at 8:50 a.m. in New York, trimming earlier gains. Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures added 0.2%. Greece’s 10-year yield slid 131 basis points to 9.64% and the euro strengthened 0.9% to $1.1394. The yield on Japan’s 10-year note rose above Germany’s for the first time on record. The cost of insuring European corporate debt fell by the most in seven weeks. The ruble jumped 3.6%. Oil climbed 2.7% to $50.90 a barrel in New York. Copper increased for a third day.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis outlined plans to swap some Greek debt owned by the European Central Bank and the European Financial Stability Facility for new securities linked to the country’s growth, according to a person who attended a meeting of about 100 financiers in London late on Monday. Varoufakis indicated that the move would allow Greece to avoid imposing formal losses on creditors, the person said. U.S. factory orders probably fell in December, economists said before a Commerce Department report.

“It’s good news that there is no haircut,” Tristan Abet, a strategist at Louis Capital Markets LP, said by phone from Paris. “We’re seeing the normalization. It’s quite smart to link the bonds to economic growth.”

European stocks pared gains after a person familiar with the matter said Germany expects negotiations with Greece to drag on until the current round of bailout funding runs out and is prepared to play a waiting game until April or May, when the country approaches a cash crunch.

Greek stocks led gains in Europe, with the ASE Index climbing 9.7%. National Bank of Greece SA and Alpha Bank AE jumped at least 15%. Bonds sold by National Bank of Greece and Piraeus Bank SA led the advance in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Euro Financial High Yield Index.

Credit Risk

Credit-default swaps insuring $10 million of Greek government debt for five years dropped to $4.1 million upfront and $100,000 annually, according to CMA. The contracts now signal a 67% probability of default, down from 70% yesterday, the prices show.

Four shares rose for every one that declined in the Stoxx 600, with trading volumes 46% greater than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

BP Plc rallied 2.4% after reporting that fourth- quarter profit fell less than analysts had estimated. Total SA added 2.3% and Royal Dutch Shell Plc gained 3.6%.

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