Thursday, February 16, 2012

Euro, shares down on delays in Greek bailout

(Reuters) - European shares fell and the euro eased to a 3-week low on Thursday as a delay in deciding on a crucial bailout for Greece unnerved investors and halted the rally for riskier assets like equities that has marked the start of 2012.

U.S. stock index futures also pointed to the Greek worries leading to a lower open on Wall Street.

Greece is now facing a very tight timetable to avoid a potentially chaotic default, having said it must initiate a debt swap with its private bondholders by Friday to meet a March 20 deadline when it is due to repay 14.5 billion euros in debt.

Even if a deal is agreed on Monday, several sources have told Reuters euro zone finance officials are examining ways of delaying part or possibly all of the second bailout programme, while still avoiding a disorderly default. Read More