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90 seconds at 9 am: US stocks stronger, Eurostoxx rise 2.8% on Fiscal Cliff hopes and Greek deal talks; NZ$ rises to near 82 USc as NZ services sector expands
Here's my summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including news US stocks were around 1.3% higher in late trade and European stocks rallied 2.8% overnight on hope America could resolve its 'Fiscal Cliff' problem.
Democrats, who control the White House and Senate, need to agree a deal with Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, to stop the US government going over the 'Fiscal Cliff' on January 1. Without a deal, the US government would increase taxes and cut spending to the tune of 4% of GDP, driving the world's economy back into recession.
However, US President Barack Obama said overnight he was confident a deal could be reached and Republican leader John Boehner has said he would accept some limited tax increases, which has previously been a no-go area for the Republicans.
Also, US existing home sales were stronger than expected and US house builder confidence was strong. See more here at Bloomberg.
In Europe, ministers are due to meet in Paris later today to discuss a deal to ensure Greece does not default on its debt and exit the euro, reassuring some who had been worried earlier in the week about yet more 'Grexit' turmoil on European markets. See more here from Bloomberg.
Closer to home, the New Zealand dollar rose to almost 82 USc overnight from 81.4 USc yesterday as appetites for riskier assets such as the New Zealand dollar firmed.
Traders also took heart from signs of expansion in New Zealand's services sector in BNZ PMI data out yesterday. This sector makes up around 60% of the New Zealand economy and suggests record low interest rates and a surge in housing market activity may be boosting the domestic economy.