World stocks mixed ahead of Ireland referendumPAMELA SAMPSON, AP Business WriterThe Associated Press
BANGKOK -- European stocks rose Thursday as Ireland voted on Europe's deficit-fighting treaty, casting aside fears over soaring borrowing costs for Spain and Italy that sent Asia stock markets down earlier in the day.
Results are expected Friday from a referendum that if passed will allow the Irish government to ratify the European Union's fiscal treaty, a pact designed to bind Ireland and other debt-laden nations that use the euro to tighter spending limits.
Rejection could block Ireland from tapping loans from the EU's rescue fund in 2013 when Ireland's current supply of bailout cash runs out. Polls during the campaign pointed to the treaty's approval.
Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1 percent to 5,349.32 and Germany's DAX added 0.5 percent to 6,313.30. France's CAC-40 rose 0.7 percent to 3,036.47.
U.S. futures augured a higher opening on Wall Street, with Dow Jones futures rising 0.5 percent to 12,443 and S&P 500 futures gaining 0.5 percent at 1,315.30.
Asian stocks fell earlier in the day on the heels of news that borrowing rates had risen sharply for Spain and Italy, a sign that investors are increasingly uneasy about their ability to pay off their debt.
Spain's banking system is under strain a week after Bankia, its fourth-largest bank, required $23.8 billion in government aid to cover souring real estate loans.
Investors are increasingly worried that problems might surface at other Spanish banks. Many lent heavily during the nation's real estate bubble and losses from the real estate crash might be too big for Spain's government to shoulder.
"The Spanish banks are in trouble because of real estate loans. And the hole is so big that the Spanish government will find it difficult to save the Spanish banks without blowing a big hole in its budget," said Francis Lun, managing director of Lyncean Holdings in Hong Kong.
Another negative signal came from the European Central Bank, which said Spaniards pulled billions in deposits out of their banks last month, raising concerns of a larger bank run.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index tumbled 1.1 percent to close at 8,542.73, its lowest finish since mid-January. Japanese exporters were hurt by a stronger yen that erodes the value of repatriated profits. Mazda Motor Corp. fell 3.9 percent and Ricoh Co. Ltd. lost 4.2 percent.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.3 percent to 18,629.52 and South Korea's Kospi was down marginally at 1,843.47.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 4,076.30. Benchmarks in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines also fell. Taiwan and New Zealand rose and mainland Chinese shares were mixed.
Spain's woes have magnified fears of a possible debt implosion in Europe's weaker economies, starting with Greece, which will run out of money in the coming days without emergency funding from outside.
Greece's economy is being kept afloat on international loans provided by the European Union and the IMF, along with a harsh austerity package of cuts and higher taxes that is deeply unpopular with the country's electorate. The government that agreed to the loan and austerity package was voted out of office in May.
The new parties, who mainly campaigned on anti-austerity platforms _ have not been able to form a government and new elections are scheduled for June 17. One of the most popular parties in Greece, the left-wing Syriza party, wants to abolish Greece's international bailout agreements, raising fears that Greece will leave the Eurozone and destabilize world markets.
Benchmark oil for July delivery was up 35 cents to $88.18 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract slid $2.99 to close at $87.82 on the Nymex on Thursday.
In currency trading, the euro rose to $1.2422 from $1.2382 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar fell to 78.87 yen from 79.07 yen.
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