Stocks, euro fall but no rout after Greek 'No'

July 6
7:47 AM 2015

Shares fell, the euro stumbled and yields on weaker euro zone economies' bonds rose after Greece overwhelmingly voted against conditions for a rescue package, but there was no rout and contagion was limited.

Investors sought low-risk assets including Bunds, but the yield premium of Italian 10-year debt IT10YT=TWEB over Germany DE10YT=TWEB remained below the eight-month highs it hit a week ago.

The euro EUR= lost half a percent to $1.1053 and 0.6 percent against the safe-haven Japanese yen EURJPY=. It fell as low as $1.0967 in Asia before rebounding, garnering some support from the resignation of Greece's outspoken finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

Analysts attributed the relatively muted market reaction to expectations the European Central Bank would act to limit any damage. The ECB's governing council was holding a conference call on Monday to decide how long to keep Greek banks afloat.

"The market is, rightly or wrongly, taking a great deal of credence of the fact that the ECB has many more defense mechanisms in place than it did in 2011-12," said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments.

"Some of the measures we've seen already could be seen as a subtle signal by the ECB that it is ready to step up... This point very important to the market reaction we've seen."

Many traders and analysts had expected a closer result or even a 'Yes' in Sunday's referendum. In the event, more than 60 percent of those who voted rejected the conditions demanded by Greece's creditors.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3, led lower by banks, was down just 0.6 percent by 1000 GMT (6:00 a.m. EDT), a far less dramatic fall than indicated by futures prices before the open.

Germany's DAX .GDAXI was down 0.8 percent while Italy's FTSE MIB index .FTMIBdropped 2.3 percent. Italy, Spain and Portugal are seen as the economies most vulnerable to contagion from Greece.

Some bankers said the result made it more likely Greece would leave the euro. However, a poll of investors taken on Sunday by Germany's Sentix research group showed expectations of a "Grexit" in the coming months unchanged from a week earlier at 50 percent.

"Markets have yet to be convinced in full either that the (Greek) exit door will be open or that the extent of any contagion from this could be irreparably damaging to the system," said Neil Williams, chief economist at Hermes Investment Management.

Yields on Italian, Spanish and Portuguese government bonds rose between 6 and 11 basis points. German 10-year yields DE10YT=TWEB fell 5 bps to 0.75 percent.

The yield gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds, at 159 bps, held below last Monday's eight-month closing high, which followed the collapse of talks between Greece and euro zone leaders.

Greek bond markets have been closed since the regulator requested their suspension last week but dealers' quotes indicated two-year yields GR2YT=TWEB 16.3 bps higher at 51.34 percent, the highest since the bonds were issued in July 2014.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=RR dropped 7.2 bps to 2.32 percent

The euro's fall helped push the dollar up 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies .DXY


In Asia, a rush from risk took MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS down 2.8 percent in the steepest daily drop in two years.

Chinese stocks rose, however, after an unprecedented series of support measures from Beijing to halt a slide of around 30 percent since mid-June. The CSI 300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen .CSI300 rose 2.9 percent.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 shed 2.1 percent, while U.S. equity futures dropped 0.7 percent ESc1.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 fell 67 cents to $59.66 a barrel. Gold, traditionally seen as a safe haven, initially rose after the Greek vote, but gains fizzed out due to the dollar's relative strength. It XAU= traded at $1,165 an ounce.

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