Asia up on Wall Street rally and China hopes, euro sags on Greece

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks rose on Tuesday after a rally on Wall Street and steps by China to shore up its economy boosted risk appetite, while Greek debt worries again haunted the sagging euro.

Tracking overnight gains in U.S. shares, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei added 0.9 per cent and Australian shares rose 1.3 per cent.

The Dow and S&P 500 both climbed more than 1 percent Monday with sentiment boosted by Chinese equities, which soared to a seven-year high on hopes for more infrastructure spending and monetary easing.

After unveiling details over the weekend for a modern "Silk Road" that could pump tens of billions of dollars into investment, China late on Monday announced steps to ease housing taxes and lending rules to prop up sliding house prices imperilling the world's second largest economy.

"Tax cuts, reductions to down payments on second homes, along with further moves to requirement ratios have all been introduced to assist China's slowing housing sector and will be a medium term positive in the global growth story," Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG in Melbourne, said in a note to clients.

In currencies, the euro was down 0.1 per cent at US$1.0824 , adding to an overnight loss of 0.5 per cent.

The common currency fell against the dollar on worries about whether Greece can secure aid before it runs out of cash in three weeks. Greece's biggest creditor Germany demanded that it show more commitment to reform while Athens said it cannot make an "unconditional" agreement with lenders.

The U.S. dollar was little changed at 120.02 yen after surging from an overnight low of 119.105.

The Australian dollar found little support from prospects of more stimulus and monetary easing from China, Australia's key trading partner.

The Aussie was little changed at US$0.7656 after skidding more than one percent overnight amid persistent expectations of further interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

U.S. crude extended losses as the Mar. 31 deadline loomed for Iran and six world powers negotiating a deal for Tehran's nuclear programme. If a deal is reached to end Western sanctions, Iran would be able to ship more crude into an already saturated market.

U.S. crude was down 0.3 per cent at US$48.54 per barrel.

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