Euro, stocks fall as anti-austerity party wins Greek election

Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:54pm EST
 
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By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) - The euro skidded to near an 11-year low and U.S. stock futures fell on Monday as Greece's Syriza party promised to roll back austerity measures after sweeping to victory in a snap election, putting Athens on a collision course with international lenders.

The euro fell to as low as $1.1135 on the vote outcome, not far off an 11-year low of $1.1115 touched on Friday when the common currency took a battering after the European Central Bank unveiled a bond-buying stimulus program last week.

U.S. stock futures fell 0.6 percent ESc1 while the Nikkei futures also dropped about 0.5 percent from the local close on Friday on heightened concerns the Greek election results could lead to renewed instability in Europe.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras was set to become prime minister of the first euro zone government openly opposed to bailout conditions imposed by European Union and International Monetary Fund during the economic crisis.

"The euro will be sold on any rally. But such an outcome was already expected to a certain extent and I expect the pace of its decline is likely to slow," said Osao Iizuka, the head of FX trading at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.

Indeed, the broad consensus in the markets is that any renewed tensions over Greece is unlikely to hurt broader investor sentiment much beyond an initial shock.

Unlike at the height of the debt crisis in 2011-12, European banks now have limited exposure to Greece and European policymakers have frameworks to deal with indebted countries, analysts say.

"At the moment, the market believes that if there is any (debt) restructuring it would only involve the official sector and for now, the possibility of Greece leaving the euro zone even with the incoming government is small," Sebastien Galy, senior foreign exchange analyst at Societe Generale in New York also said.   Continued...

 
A man is reflected on an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average, outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 16, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai