Asian Equities Higher on China and Greece

Asian shares and the euro gained on Friday as investors took heart from strength in recently volatile Chinese markets, and after Greece’s offer of a new reform plan raised hopes of a deal at a weekend summit of European leaders.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan extended early gains and was up 1.2 percent, but was still on track for a weekly loss over 4 percent in a period marred by a savage correction in Chinese stock markets.

Shanghai’s benchmark composite index was up 3.7 percent, while the CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen added 4.4 percent.  U.S. stock futures also rose, with S&P 500 mini futures jumping as high as 2061.75, up 1.0 percent from late U.S. levels. They were last up 0.9 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index erased early losses and tacked on 0.4 percent, though it was still headed for a weekly loss of nearly 3 percent and remained below the psychologically significant 20,000 level.  Given its recent drop, the Japanese market’s valuations have become more attractive, which is drawing buying by retail investors and pension funds who usually buy stocks when they are falling, according to market participants.