Asia stocks up as Greece, China woes ease

Stock traders sit at their desks facing an electronic board on the trading floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong, China.
Stock traders sit at their desks facing an electronic board on the trading floor of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in Hong Kong, China.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG (AFP) - Asian markets mostly rose Friday after the European Central Bank (ECB) boosted emergency aid to Greece and eurozone chiefs agreed a bridging loan to the country, while Hong Kong and Shanghai rallied as fears over a renewed mainland rout eased.

Buying was also given a bump by a record close on Wall Street, where investors were cheered by upbeat earnings, the easing of the Greek crisis and a stabilisation of China's markets after a month of plunges.

Tokyo rose 0.25 per cent, or 50.80 points, to 20,650.92, marking a five-day winning streak.

Shanghai jumped 3.51 per cent, or 134.18 points, to 3,957.35.

The index has now risen for two straight weeks, clawing back some of the huge losses suffered in just under a month after hitting a June 12 peak. However, it is still down more than 23 per cent.

Hong Kong ended 1 per cent higher, adding 252.49 points to 25,415.27. Sydney closed flat, adding just 0.5 of a point, or 0.01 per cent, to end the week at 5,670.1 but Seoul dipped 0.53 per cent, or 11.10 points to 2,076.79.

The ECB increased its lifeline to Greece, meaning the country's lenders can open on Monday for the first time in three weeks, while its head, Mario Draghi, threw his weight behind International Monetary Fund calls for debt relief for Athens.

The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, also agreed in theory to grant Greece a three-month, seven-billion-euro bridging loan to keep its economy afloat until its new bailout is ratified.

And eurozone ministers agreed to start bailout talks, hours after MPs in Athens gave the nod to tough reforms demanded by creditors.

"All of this uncertainty will require the ECB to maintain super-easy policies for even longer than was the case already," said Kit Juckes of Societe Generale.