Asian stocks rise as investors watch for next step in Greek debt saga



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TOKYO — Asian shares rose on Wednesday as investors watched to see the next step as Greece fell into arrears after failing to make a debt repayment on Tuesday. Investors are concerned that if Greece defaults on its debts the nation will eventually drop out of the euro currency, a move that could potentially set off turmoil in financial markets. But they appeared to be taking a wait-and-see stance.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 stock index edged 0.2 percent higher to 20,279.73 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.1 percent to 26,250.03. The Shanghai Composite Index, which has seen wild swings over the past few days, tipped back into negative territory, slipping 0.2 percent to 4,270.76. Australia's S&P ASX/200 rose 0.5 percent to 5,484.60. Shares in Southeast Asia were higher.

GREECE DEBT CRISIS: Greece's European bailout program ended Tuesday at midnight without an extension or a new deal with creditors and the government failed to make a payment of about 1.5 billion euros due to the International Monetary Fund due by June 30. The IMF's communications director, Gerry Rice, said in a statement that "Greece is now in arrears and can only receive IMF financing once the arrears are cleared." A request for new aid from Greece's European neighbors has yet to be decided upon, and Greece's voters are will face a referendum on whether to agree to terms set by creditors for further assistance.

THE QUOTE: "International markets appear to have found a level where they are happy to sit and wait on the next developments in the Greek debt crisis. Greece's failure to meet the deadline on its IMF payment looks to have been fully anticipated by markets. Barring unknowns, the next critical event for markets will be the outcome of Sunday's referendum," Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a commentary.

WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,063.11, ending the quarter with a 0.2 percent loss. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 23.16 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,619.51. Despite Monday's slump, many investors remain confident U.S. financial markets will hold their own, though European markets fell on Greek jitters on Tuesday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 70 cents to $53.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract soared $1.14 the previous day to close at $59.47. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 54 cents to $63.05 in London after gaining $1.58 on Wednesday.

CURRENCIES: In currency trading, The dollar rose to 122.50 yen from the Tuesday's 122.43 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1139 from the previous session's $1.1130.

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