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U.S. worries hit global shares, euro subdued after Greek deal

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Nov 28, 2012 12:51 hrs
A trader looks at computer screens during a Spanish bond auction in Madrid

By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares, commodities and the euro fell on Wednesday as investors fretted about a lack of progress in U.S. budget talks and doubts crept in over Greece's new debt deal

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed disappointment on Tuesday over the progress of talks between Democrats and Republicans on avoiding the "fiscal cliff" - $600 billion in automatic tax rises and spending cuts due to start early next year.

This compounded investors' caution about the plan agreed by Greece's lenders late on Monday to reduce its debts. The deal opened the way for more aid to Athens to avoid a chaotic default, but some details remain unclear and analysts worry it will not do enough to make Greece's debt viable.

The FTSEurofirst300 index of European stocks was down 0.2 percent by 1145 GMT, giving up almost all of the previous session's gains.

London's FTSE 100, Paris's CAC-40 and Frankfurt's DAX slipped between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent and the MSCI index of global stocks was down just over 0.2 percent following falls in Asian equity markets.

"We have some aftermath effects of the Greek deal with investors probably reconsidering some of their optimism and focus is also shifting to the U.S. fiscal cliff issue," said Joost Beaumont a senior economist at ABN Amro.

"Risk sentiment has been a little bit hit by the comments by Harry Reid overnight ... We expect there will be a deal but it could be an 11th hour one which may not help confidence."

CLIFF HANGER

Futures prices pointed to another soft open on Wall Street. The main U.S. data of the day will be home sales figures and the Federal Reserve's November "Beige Book" which will provide the latest gauge of the economy.

In currency markets, the euro was down 0.3 percent to $1.2907 by 1100 GMT as traders continued to take profit on the gains the currency made in the run up to the Greek deal.

"The uncertainty brought by this (Greek deal) approach makes European assets, including the euro, vulnerable to global growth risks," Barclays Capital analysts said in a note. "For that reason we think the European muddle through amplifies the market's response to the fiscal cliff discussion in the U.S."

European Central Bank data added to the uncertainty, showing depositors continued to pull money out of Spanish and Italian banks in October, despite ECB President Mario Draghi's conditional promise in September to help troubled euro zone countries.

Away from Europe, the yen rose to 81.80 yen against the dollar, as market players pared back expectations of aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan and the U.S. concerns increased.

The Japanese currency had lost about 4 percent against the dollar over the past two weeks as investors started to price in a possible shift in monetary policy after a Japanese election on December 16.

COMMODITY SLIDE

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.5 percent, retreating near three-week highs, with materials and energy sectors leading the declines.

Commodity markets also reflected the worries of a possible U.S. budget crisis and how this could tip the world's biggest economy into recession.

Gold fell for a third straight day, copper dropped from a three-week high and Brent crude lost 29 cents to $109.58 per barrel.

"There is bearish sentiment caused by problems in U.S. negotiations, with the fiscal cliff still looming," said Filip Petersson, analyst at SEB in Stockholm.

Bond markets were sending more mixed signals, however.

German government bonds firmed as the U.S. fiscal and Greek problems attracted support for safe haven assets, but Italian and Spain debt also rose as euro zone-focused investors closed short positions on the bonds following Tuesday's Greek deal.

"As long as that (the fiscal cliff) is in play we're not going to see Bunds trade off too far ... given the growth implications next year," one trader said.

(Additional reporting by Simon Falush and Marius Zaharia; Editing by Anna Willard and David Stamp)



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