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European markets advance amid calmer Greece backdrop

Stock markets across Europe eked out some modest gains Monday as Greek banks opened their doors for the first time in more than three weeks, a development that has further eased concerns over the country's futures in the euro.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, France's CAC-40 rose 0.7 percent to 5,161 while Germany's DAX was up 0.9 percent at 11,779. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.2 percent higher at 6,791. U.S. stocks were poised for a steady open with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.1 percent.

GREEK EASING: Fears over a Greek exit from the euro have abated over the past few week helping markets to drive higher. On Monday, Greek banks reopened for albeit limited business, while the European Union sent Athens the short-term money it needs to pay off a $4.6 billion debt to the European Central Bank and clear arrears with the International Monetary Fund. Still, there are a lot of hurdles to clear in coming weeks before Greece secures its third bailout, but the prevailing view is that so-called Grexit is off the table for now.

ANALYST TAKE: "European markets have opened with tempered optimism, as for the first time in over a month we've managed to enjoy a weekend uncluttered by European, political and fiscal fireworks," said Alastair McCaig, market analyst at IG.

CHINA WOBBLES: Alongside Greece, concerns over Chinese stocks have been a key feature in markets over the past few weeks. However, plunging stock markets appear to have stabilized. Analysts say it is unclear, though, whether the market will hold up once restrictions on selling are lifted. "The question is whether this tentative stability will be followed by a rebound or another leg of economic weakness and, potentially, market distress," analysts at Citigroup said in a report.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.9 percent to 3,992.11 while Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent to 5,686.90. Seoul's Kospi declined 0.2 percent to 2,073.31 and India's Sensex gave up 0.4 percent to 28,351.01. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was little changed at 25,404.81. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 17 cents to $50.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 3 cents to $56.81 in London.

CURRENCIES: Foreign exchange markets were fairly subdued with the euro up 0.1 percent at $1.0844. The dollar rose by the same percentage rate to 124.24 yen.


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