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Hopes for Greek-debt vote propel stocks

GLOBAL equity markets surged as Greek politicians prepared to vote on crucial spending cuts aimed at diffusing their country's debt crisis and dodging another financial catastrophe.

GLOBAL equity markets surged as Greek politicians prepared to vote on crucial spending cuts aimed at diffusing their country's debt crisis and dodging another financial catastrophe.

Strong overseas leads helped the S&P/ASX 200 Index claw back this week's losses, rising 55.2 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 4529.

Greece's parliament was last night due to vote on a fresh austerity package that its lenders are demanding before they approve another loan.

Macquarie Private Wealth division director Martin Lakos said investors were betting that the tough cuts, endorsed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, would win parliamentary approval.

Goldman Sachs dealer Richard Coppleson said another supportive factor was that German banks had agreed to roll over about $US10 billion ($A9.5 billion) in Greek debt, following a French plan for banks to reinvest half their Greek debt in 30-year bonds.

The Australian dollar rose above $US1.05 again, trading at its highest in a week, reflecting optimism about the Greek vote.

At 5pm yesterday it was at $US1.0585, up US1.22?.

RBS FX strategist Greg Gibbs said the Aussie was likely to return to l about $US1.10 within the next year.

He said RBS was upbeat about the economy of Australia's biggest trading partner, China, and was forecasting domestic interest-rate rises within the next year, which would make the Aussie attractive to foreign investors.

"The AUD has been much more stable during this period of Greek debt crisis," Mr Gibbs said. "[It] is still holding on to much of its sharp gains in April, and its daily volatility has been relatively muted."

The renewed optimism about Greece coupled with a weakening US dollar lifted oil prices by more than 2 per cent, a four-day high.

The global benchmark, West Texas intermediate crude, climbed $US2.28 to $US92.89 a barrel, while the Asia Pacific benchmark, Tapis, firmed $2.34 to $115.67 a barrel.

The energy sector was the ASX's top performing sector, advancing 2.6 per cent. Woodside Petroleum firmed 98?, or 2.5 per cent, to $40.62, Origin Energy rose 48?, or

3.2 per cent, to $15.38 while Santos was 28? stronger at $13.2.

Among the big miners, BHP climbed 78?, or 1.8 per cent, to $43.15, goldminer Newcrest rose 75?, or 2 per cent, to $37.10, and Rio Tinto firmed $1.18 to $81.53.

The top four banks were all stronger, with Commonwealth leading the charge, rising 57?, or 1.1 per cent, to $51.37.


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