February 8, 2012 / 6:17 AM / in 6 years

Euro, shares higher on hopes for Greek deal

LONDON (Reuters) - The euro was at eight-week high and European shares rose on Wednesday on hopes that a deal on a second bailout for Greece was close, shrugging off data illustrating the damage the debt crisis has done to the region’s economy.

People walk past an electronic board displaying graphs of various market indices from around the world outside a brokerage in Tokyo November 1, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

Germany saw the steepest drop in exports for nearly three years in December and the Bank of France said its economy would not grow at all in the first quarter of 2012.

But riskier assets were boosted by optimism that more talks due to be held in Athens today will eventually lead to a deal that releases the funds needed to avoid a messy Greek debt default, which could happen as soon as next month.

The euro traded around $1.3260, having earlier briefly hit a fresh 2-month high of $1.3283.

The MSCI world equity index, which has gained 9.2 percent this year, was up 0.3 percent and European shares also opened about 0.3 percent higher at 1075.56.

Editing by John Stonestreet

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