Stocks Rise on Higher Oil Price, Greek Debt Relief Deal – Wall Street Journal

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Global stocks extended a rally Wednesday as investors were encouraged by rising oil prices and the prospect of Greek debt relief.

Bank shares led the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.9% in morning trade, echoing gains in Japan and Hong Kong.

Futures pointed to a 0.4% opening gain for the S&P 500. Changes in futures don’t necessarily reflect market moves after the opening bell.

Technology and financial stocks led the S&P 500 to its biggest gain in more than two months on Tuesday, following strong U.S. housing data and growing confidence that the economy could withstand higher interest rates.

“People are realizing that rates going up is not a negative for the longer term economy—it’s a positive vote of confidence that things are going better than people hoped,“ said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.
AMTD


3.44
%




That rally continued overseas Wednesday, with U.S. crude oil prices last up 1.4% at $49.32 a barrel, their highest price in more than seven months.

Oil prices got a lift from expectations that production disruptions would help reduce a supply glut and from a decrease in the U.S. crude inventories. Production has started to fall in some regions including the U.S. due to spending cuts.

Official U.S. production and stockpiles data will be released later Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration. It comes a day after industry group API reported a surprisingly large drawdown in U.S. crude supplies that pushed Nymex crude prices in after-hours trading above $49 a barrel for the first time since October.

Also boosting shares, eurozone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund reached a deal early Wednesday that clears the way for fresh loans for Greece and prevents the country from defaulting on big debt redemptions in July. Peripheral bond yields fell. Yields fall as prices rise.


Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average added 1.6%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng
HSNGY


0.81
%




Index gained 2.7% and shares in Australia gained 1.5%, bolstered by the rise in oil prices and strong finish on Wall Street.

Shares in Shanghai ended slightly lower, however, after China guided the yuan to its weakest level against the dollar in over five years.

In currencies, the euro was little changed against the dollar at $1.1142 after data showed German business confidence increased more than expected in May.

The dollar was up 0.2% against the yen at ¥110.2380.

In corporate news, shares in Bayer AG
BAYRY


2.81
%




were up 0.8% following Monsanto
MON


3.11
%




’s rejection of its $62 billion takeover offer.

Shares in Marks & Spencer Group
MAKSY


2.18
%




PLC were down nearly 8% after the company reported a steep fall in pretax profit and warned of more pressure ahead.

Write to Riva Gold at riva.gold@wsj.com