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Asian stocks rebound on hopes for Greek debt deal

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Stocks in the U.S. are down more than 1 percent at the opening bell, following similar declines in Europe. Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Stocks in the U.S. are down more than 1 percent at the opening bell, following similar declines in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
By Kelvin Chan
AP Business Writer / March 7, 2012
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HONG KONG—Asian stocks rebounded Thursday on signs that a debt relief deal for Greece will go through and as an upbeat report on U.S. payrolls added to optimism about the world's biggest economy.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 1.3 percent to 9,697.99. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.7 percent to 20,765.51 and South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.4 percent to 1,989.46.

Growing investor participation in a massive Greek debt relief deal bolstered the mood in stock markets. By Wednesday night, investors owning around half of Greece's privately held debt had committed to a bond swap that would see them accept losses to avoid facing even bigger ones in case Athens defaults.

Greece needs at least 67 percent of investors to sign up by Thursday night, so it can get a related euro130 billion ($171 billion) bailout from European countries and the International Monetary Fund.

A private monthly report on U.S. payrolls that estimated companies added 216,000 workers last month, beating expectations, also helped boost investor sentiment.

"Risk assets are set to benefit from the improved sentiment, though trading may still be cautious ahead of a slew of events later this week," including interest rate decisions by the European and British central banks and U.S. jobs data, strategists at Credit Agricole CIB wrote in a research note.

In mainland China, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.9 percent to 2,416.54 and Australia's ASX/S&P 200 was up 0.5 percent to 4,165.10. Benchmarks in Taiwan, Singapore and New Zealand also rose.

On Wall Street on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.6 percent at 12,837.33. The S&P 500 index gained 0.7 percent to close at 1,352.63. The Nasdaq composite index 0.9 percent to close at 2,935.69.

In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3156 from to $1.3150 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar rose to 81.21 Japanese yen from 81.19 yen.

Benchmark oil for April delivery was up 14 cents to $106.02 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose by $1.46 to end at $106.16 per barrel in New York.

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