Greece became the first advanced economy ever to miss a payment to the 71-year-old International Monetary Fund at midnight yesterday, when it failed to repay €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion). But outlets including the Financial Times and Bloomberg reported that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has indicated the country is willing to accept creditors' conditions for an extension to its bailout, with certain amendments.
News of the offer, in a leaked letter, came as Greek officials prepared to meet with eurozone finance ministers later Wednesday and followed hints from the Greek government, including Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, that it may even call on Greeks to vote "yes" in a weekend referendum on the bailout terms.
The apparent about-face also came as the European Central Bank reportedly considers raising the collateral required from Greek banks for emergency loans, which would threaten some lenders' existence.
In Frankfurt, the DAX jumped 2.33% to 1,199.55. In Paris, the CAC 40 clambered up 2.64% to 4,916.51. In London, the FTSE 100 gained 1.6% to 6,625.06. Data on Athens indices was unavailable.
A final purchasing managers' index for June from Markit Economics came in in line with its "flash" estimate for the eurozone. New figures for Germany showed growth had accelerated, as expected, whereas France has marched across the 50 line that separates contraction from expansion for the first time in 14 months, with that country's index reading 50.7. But the corresponding purchasing managers' manufacturing index for the U.K. fell from May and came in below expectations, settling at a 26-month low of 51.4.
In the U.K., the Bank of England said the financial stability outlook had deteriorated in recent days as Greek risks had begun to crystallize.
In London, tool hire company Speedy Hire plunged more than 30%, warning that full-year results will be "materially below" its board's expectations and last year's figures. The group said talks to sell a loss-making Middle Eastern unit had ended without a deal.
Alternative Investment Market-listed Sirius Minerals (SRUXY) rose well over 60% after it gained planning consent to mine for potash in the Yorkshire, England, countryside. It still has to finance the project.
Airlines including EasyJet (ESYJY) , Ryanair Holdings(RYAAY) - Get Report and International Consolidated Airlines (ICAGY) all rose in London after an independent commission recommended Heathrow Airport, to the west of London, be the site of desperately needed new runway capacity. The report sparked hopes that stalled airport expansion would finally begin to take shape in the U.K.
In Frankfurt, residential real estate owner and operator Deutsche Annington Immobilien rose 1.5% after closing a rights issue to raise €2.25 billion ($2.5 billion), mainly for its purchase of peer Suedewo-Gruppe. It sold the shares at €20.90, while the stock was trading at €25.85 by late morning.
In Sydney, rail freight company Asciano closed up almost 17% on news that Canada's Brookfield Asset Managementhas offered A$6.8 billion ($5.2 billion) for the company. The proposal follows the A$8billion takeover earlier this year by Japan Post Holding of Toll Holdings, which spun off Asciano back in 2007.
In Seoul, shares in Cheil Industries, a Samsung (SSNLF) conglomerate, closed up just under 2% after a Seoul court rejected Elliott Management's challenge to its $9 billion takeover of Samsung C&T (SSGFF) . The hedge fund argues that the terms are unfair to Samsung C&T shareholders that aren't affiliated to Samsung and that the deal makes no strategic sense.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.46% at 20,329.32 and the Topix gained 0.37% to 1,636.41.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 1.09% to close at 26,250.03. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 5.23% to 4,053.70, taking its one-month loss to more than 16%.
The HSBC/Markit Economics manufacturing purchasing managers' index for China showed that the economy continued to contract in June, with the index reading at 49.4, below the critical 50 dividing line. The index rose from 49.2 in May.
Meanwhile, the World Bank scolded the Chinese government for interfering in its financial system. It also suggested the country's recent economic slowdown marked a normalization.