Singapore: Asian stocks rose on Tuesday after better-than-expected US consumer spending data and a bank merger in Greece offered investors some rare good news about the outlook for indebted developed world economies.
The safe-haven Swiss franc fell as money switched back into riskier assets, pushing up commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar and crude oil.
US consumer spending rose at its fastest pace in five months in July, figures on Monday showed, soothing fears that the world’s biggest economy is sliding back into recession.
Pessimism about the health of the US economy and worries about Europe’s sovereign debt crisis have hammered global stock markets this month, driving MSCI’s All-Country World Index down nearly 15 percent from its May high.
Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 1.4% on Tuesday, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7%.
The gains in Asia followed a jump in Wall Street stocks on Monday, when the S&P 500 finished up 2.8%.
European shares had also risen, helped by news that Greek banks Alpha and EFG Eurobank had sealed a merger with help from Qatar, giving a much needed capital boost to a sector battered by the country’s severe debt crisis that has threatened to spread through the euro zone.
The dollar traded around 0.8180 Swiss francs , up around 0.3% on the day, after touching a five-week high of 0.8239 on Monday.
The Australian dollar , which is heavily influenced by expectations of demand for Australia’s resources such as coal and metals, hit a four-week high at $1.0677.
US crude rose 0.4% to $87.62 a barrel, while gold was steady around $1,792 an ounce.