Asia Stocks Rise on Second Greece Bailout

TOKYO -- Asian shares climbed Friday after European leaders agreed on a massive new bailout plan for Greece and broader measures to deal with the continent's debt problems.

All the region's major markets advanced, with banks in particular benefiting from the overnight developments.

Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average advanced 1.2% to 10,132.11, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index shot up 1.7% to 22,361.71, and South Korea's Kospi added 1.2% to 2,171.23.

At an emergency meeting in Brussels, European officials agreed to give Greece a second rescue package worth €109 billion ($155 billion). They also plan to lower interest rates and lengthen payback terms for loans to Greece, as well as those made to Ireland and Portugal.

The deal resolves a political deadlock between Europe's top economic authorities over how to save Greece that had investors worried the debt crisis would spin out of control.

European officials also gave new powers to the region's bailout fund, allowing it to provide credit to struggling countries before a crisis flares up. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European officials want to tackle the "root" of the debt crisis.

Analysts said the negotiations were more constructive than expected.

"It finally shows determination and leadership on the part of European leaders to address these problems," a Credit Suisse report said Friday. "That is significant, in our view. And in the near term that could provide a much-needed boost to confidence."

In Tokyo, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial ( MTU) jumped 3.3%, while rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial ( SMFG) finished up 3.6%.

National Australia Bank climbed 2.5%, and Woori Finance Holdings rose 1.4% in Seoul.

Investors also bought Asian tech shares after Microsoft ( MSFT) reported record fourth-quarter revenue Thursday. Sony ( SNE) rose 1.1% in Tokyo, and Samsung Electronics added 1%.

On Wall Street Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 152.50 points, or 1.2%, to close at 12,724.41.

The broader S&P 500 index rose 17.96 points, or 1.4%, to 1,343.80. The Nasdaq composite index rose 20.20 points, or 0.7%, to 2,834.43.

In currencies, the dollar rose slightly to 78.66 yen from 78.52 yen late Thursday. The euro stood at $1.442 from $1.437.

Optimism about the Greek bailout deal drove oil prices toward $100 a barrel Friday in Asia.

Benchmark oil for September delivery was up 29 cents to $99.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude rose 73 cents to settle at $99.13 on Thursday.

In London, Brent crude rose 37 cents to $117.88 per barrel on the ICE Futures.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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