LONDON (Reuters) - World shares and key commodities such as oil and copper gained for a second day on Tuesday on speculation that European leaders would agree on fresh action to tackle the region’s debt crisis, and on reports China plans measures to boost sagging growth.
The FTSE Eurofirst .FTEU3 index of top European shares was up 1 percent at 984.29 points in early trade, extending a recovery from five-month lows hit on Monday, with miners such as Rio Tinto (RIO.L) and BHP Billiton (BLT.L) leading the gains.
MSCI’s global equity index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.5 percent to 302.89 for a gain of about 1.7 percent from lows hit last week, when investors, responding to talk of a possible exit by Greece from the euro zone, shunned riskier assets.
After last week’s selloff, market participants are looking to an informal meeting of European Union leaders on Wednesday for a signal at least of fresh measures to ease the crisis, though there remains plenty of skepticism that any deal will be reached.
“I doubt any news out of the meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) will be able to create a positive environment,” said Niels Christensen, FX strategist at Nordea.
“Even the political leaders were to pull an agreement out of the hat we need something that’s going to take immediate effect.”
France’s new President Francois Hollande is expected to use the meeting to push for the issuance of euro zone bonds, underwritten by all member states, to help struggling countries in the 17-member currency bloc.
However, Germany’s long-standing opposition to this idea without closer European Union integration is unlikely to change.
The euro was barely changed against the dollar at around $1.28, with the market held in check by the large number of speculators holding short positions in the single currency.
Any progress at Wednesday’s EU leaders meeting has the potential to force heavy losses on these investors and moves are expected to be limited until the meeting’s outcome is known.
Talk that some form of action could be coming did ease tensions in the debt markets, with Spanish and Italian government bond yields falling, and investors using the opportunity to pocket profits in German government bonds.
The German June Bund future was 50 ticks lower at 143.07 compared with 143.57 at Monday’s settlement with German 10-year yields five basis points up at 1.48 percent.
Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell 8.1 basis points to 6.22 percent, while equivalent Italian yields shed 11 bps to 5.83 percent.
The fall in Spanish bond yield came despite a leading bank warning that the country’s banking sector could need another 76 billion euros ($97 billion) to cover loan losses as the economy in Spain worsens.
“Although some respite from selling pressure will have come as a relief, there’s a long road ahead, with risk assets set to come under renewed pressure over coming weeks,” Mitul Kotecha, head of global foreign-exchange strategy at Credit Agricole.
The Chinese government also helped boost investor sentiment by hinting it is preparing measures to boost sagging growth in the world’s second largest economy.
The China Securities Journal said on Tuesday the government plans to speed up approval of infrastructure construction projects to improve the economy. The report followed pro-growth comments from Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday.
The slowdown in China’s economy has weighed particularly on the commodities market, particularly since dismal economic data for April suggested the economy was heading for a sixth straight quarter of slowing growth.
Copper, which fell to a four-month low below $7,500 a tonne last week, climbed 0.5 percent to $7,766 a tonne on Tuesday.
Xstrata XTA.L, the world’s fourth-largest copper miner, added to the more positive tone by forecasting Chinese demand for copper was likely to improve in the second half.
Brent crude rose 29 cents to $109.10 a barrel, with the oil market also awaiting the result of a meeting on Iran’s nuclear programmer.
Major powers meet in Iran on Wednesday to discuss its nuclear programmer after the U.S. Senate on Monday unanimously approved a package of economic sanctions on the country’s oil sector.
Additional reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Giles Elgood