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GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro, sterling up on data; stress tests awaited

Cryptocurrency Jul 23, 2010 04:52AM ET
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* Euro rises after record Ifo data for July

* Hit earlier by report some Spanish banks fail stress tests

* Robust U.S. quarterly earnings boost stocks

* Results of European bank stress tests due at 1600 GMT

* For more on the stress tests, click on

By Dominic Lau

LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - The euro rose on Friday after a survey showed German business sentiment posted a record jump in July to its highest level in three years, and corporate results lifted stocks ahead of eagerly awaited European bank stress test results.

The single currency was lower before the Ifo survey, as Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that several of the country's 18 savings banks had failed the tests, which are due to be published on Friday afternoon.

The report from the Munich-based Ifo think tank helped ease concerns that the global economy could slip back into recession.

"We expected an increase but we didn't expect this. The German economy is running really strong at the moment," said Ralph Solveen at Commerzbank.

"Companies are not letting themselves be distracted by all the negative discussions going on, such as the bank stress tests, the debt crisis or the threat of a double-dip recession in the United States."

The euro gained 0.4 percent to $1.2944 and was up 0.6 percent at 112.74 yen, while sterling rose 1.2 percent to $1.5434 after the UK economy grew almost twice as fast as expected in the second quarter.

The dollar, meanwhile, slipped 0.3 percent against a basket of major currencies.

The results of the tests on 91 European banks, which use scenarios including declines in the value of the sovereign debt they hold, are due at 1600 GMT.

The European Union cleared Spain and Portugal to extend state support for their banks until the end of 2010, the latest move to help institutions weather the crisis.

"The market's assumption is that several of the Spanish Cajas (savings banks) will fail, along with some peripheral European banks. But if it goes beyond that the euro reaction will be negative," said Adam Cole, head of global fx strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Meanwhile, Manfred Weber, the head of the Association of German Banks, told local radio that he was confident that German banks "all in all" would perform well in the tests.

Some analysts also consider Germany's quasi-public regional landesbanks to be at risk.

According to a survey of investors conducted by Goldman Sachs, 10 out of the 91 banks subjected to the tests were expected to fail.

The Goldman poll of 376 respondents, including hedge funds and long-only investors, showed European banks were on average expected to raise 37.6 billion euros ($48.4 billion) in extra capital following the tests, it said in a note dated July 22.


World stocks measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 0.5 percent, boosted by a 2.3 percent rise in Tokyo's Nikkei average following robust quarterly U.S. corporate results.

Microsoft Corp easily beat Wall Street forecasts with a 48 percent rise in quarterly profit.

Europe's FTSEurofirst 300 rose 0.2 percent, while European banks were down 0.3 percent.

"Corporate earnings have been good, or not as bad as expected, and that's helping the market up," said Andy Lynch, fund manager at Schroders. "Most banks will pass the stress test, but that's no great surprise."

Europe's banking sector carried a one-year forward price-to-earnings ratio of 9.09, compared with its 10-year average of 11.09, and a dividend yield of 2.72 percent versus a 10-year average of 3.34 percent, according to Thomson Reuters DataStream.

U.S stock index futures rose 0.2 to 0.4 percent, indicating a stronger start for Wall Street.

Bund futures fell 38 ticks to 128.31 and yields on 10-year benchmark German Bunds were up 4 basis points at 2.705 percent. (Additional reporting by Neal Armstrong, Ian Chua and Brian Gorman in London, and Dave Graham in Berlin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro, sterling up on data; stress tests awaited

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