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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares, euro firmer but growth worries lurk

Published: February 24, 2012 | 9:35 am
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* Euro hovers near 10-week highs vs dollar
* Shares open firmer after recent losses
* Risk rally teeters as ECB tender nears

LONDON – The euro traded near 10-week high against the dollar and shares edged up as markets weighed the impact of rising oil prices on growth against signs of strength in the U.S. and German economies.

With worries over implementation of the Greek debt deal dominating the backdrop, investors are gearing up for a second three-year financing operation by the European Central Bank on Feb 29, which is expected to inject nearly half a trillion euros into banks.

“We also think it is because the speed and consistency of the rise in risk assets in recent months, which returned the S&P 500 to its 2011 peak, have led many to wonder if risk is due for a pause,” Barclays Capital analysts said in a note.

Wall Street stocks rose on Thursday after data showed the U.S. labor market remained on the mend, but gains stalled as prices approached highs not seen since before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

European shares, which fell for a third straight session on Thursday, opened up about 0.4 percent at 1079.69 points, while the MSCI world equity index was up 0.3 percent after a positive session in Asia.

The euro on Friday was barely changed from late New York levels at $1.3378, after rallying 1 percent to 10-week highs around $1.3385 following data showing German business sentiment had improved.

The U.S. dollar rose to a fresh 7-1/2-month peak against the yen as the Japanese currency stayed under pressure from the Bank of Japan’s easing earlier this month.


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