• Asia markets mostly up


    HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose on Friday after European leaders and Russia agreed a plan to end Ukraine’s 10-month war, while confidence Greece would reach a debt overhaul deal with its creditors boosted the euro against the dollar.

    The upbeat outlook for both of the crises plaguing Europe provided a catalyst for an equities rally in Europe and the United States, a mantle picked up in bourses across Asia.

    Sydney rallied 2.33 percent, or 133.90 points, to 5,877.5 as energy firms were boosted by a rebound in oil prices and the head of Australia’s central bank said it was unlikely to cut interest rates to zero.

    Seoul climbed 0.82 percent, or 15.87 points, to close at 1,957.50 and Shanghai jumped 0.96 percent, or 30.41 points, to 3,202.83. In late trade Hong Kong was 0.85 percent higher.

    But Tokyo retreated from a seven-year high, slipping 0.37 percent, or 66.36 points, to close at 17,913.36.

    After 17-hour talks the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany on Thursday hammered out a blueprint to end the conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels.

    The ceasefire is to take effect at midnight Sunday (2200 GMT Saturday) in Ukraine and heavy weapons are to be withdrawn from frontlines.

    But while the deal was welcomed on all sides, leaders remained cautious, with German
    Chancellor Angela Merkel saying “I have no illusions, we have no illusions” and that “much work” remained.

    The news pushed European stocks higher, with Frankfurt up 1.56 percent, Paris adding 1.00 percent and London 0.15 percent higher.

    On Wall Street, the Dow added 0.62 percent, the S&P 500 jumped 0.96 percent—both close to record highs—and the Nasdaq surged 1.18 percent to levels not seen since 2000.


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