Global shares rise, investors hope for Greece progress

Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:25pm EST
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World shares advanced modestly on Wednesday as policymakers in Europe reassured markets that a deal on releasing emergency aid to Greece was close, while a cease-fire in the Middle East further boosted optimism.

Gains were limited going into the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, however, as the failure of European lenders to come to an agreement on Greece kept investors cautious. Trading was extremely light ahead of the U.S. trading holiday on Thursday.

Euro zone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank will gather again on Monday, after nearly 12 hours of talks overnight in Brussels failed to produce a consensus on how to shrink Greece's debt.

After the meeting ended, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said a deal was just "a whisker away," while European paymaster Germany said a plan was being developed to provide Greece with funding until 2016.

"European exchanges themselves are doing OK, so investors are saying 'We didn't really expect a resolution (on Greece), just kind of learning to live with it,'" said Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments LLC in Lisle, Illinois.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 48.38 points, or 0.38 percent, at 12,836.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX was up 3.22 points, or 0.23 percent, at 1,391.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 9.87 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,926.55.

U.S. investors digested the latest economic data, including weekly jobless claims that met expectations and a final read on November consumer sentiment that was below forecasts.

Market participants remained anxious about automatic tax and spending changes - known as the "fiscal cliff" - poised to take effect in the new year, though policymakers are not expected to return to negotiations until after Thanksgiving.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid