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Asian stocks climb on Greece bailout

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Asian stock markets rose Friday after Europe agreed to a rescue plan for Greece if the country’s debt crisis deepens.

The region’s shares were mixed in early trade before turning higher later in the day, while oil prices headed toward $81 a barrel. The euro, down sharply this week, regained some ground against the dollar.

Uncertainty about the fate of Greece, struggling under mountains of debt, has shaken markets in recent months as European countries that share the euro currency failed to come up with a decisive bailout plan.

But on Thursday, Greece won a pledge of financial support from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund, bringing a measure of relief, at least for now, to investors worried about spiraling debt levels on the continent.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average was up 167.52 points, or 1.6 percent, at 10,996.37.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 79.74, or 0.4 percent, to 20,858.29 and South Korea’s Kospi added 9.33 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,697.72.

Markets in Australia, Indian and Taiwan also gained.

The dollar fell to 92.50 yen versus 92.66 yen. The euro climbed to $1.3348 from $1.3277.

In oil, benchmark crude for May delivery was up 37 cents at $80.90.

In economic news, deflation continued in Japan as February consumer prices showed a decline for the 12th straight month last month, posing a threat to the fragile recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.

Wall Street futures were higher.

In New York Thursday, the Dow rose just 0.1 percent, to 10,841.21, after hitting a 2010 high earlier in the day.

Source: AP

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