The euro stabilized on Monday and Asian share markets rose after Greece requested emergency aid and as a raft of U.S. data showed its economic recovery was gathering strength.

Shares in Europe were expected to follow Asian markets higher, with Britain's FTSE 100 <.FTSE>, Germany's DAX <.GDAXI> and France's CAC-40 <.FCHI> all likely opening up about 0.5 percent. <.EU>

Greece's finance minister said on Sunday aid from the EU and IMF would arrive in time to avert what would be the euro zone's first sovereign debt default, although there were growing signs that a 45 billion euro ($60 billion) rescue package would have to be bigger.

While Greece's debt crisis has cast a cloud over recovery prospects for Europe and rattled global markets, U.S. data on Friday underscored that the world's largest economy was continuing to gather strength, buoying investor sentiment.

New U.S. home sales rose at their fastest pace in 47 years in March and new orders for durable goods grew strongly, helping U.S. stocks to a 19-month high. <.

Although there is much uncertainty about how soon Greece can get aid, and fears remain that the problem could spread to other euro-zone economies, such as Portugal and Spain, the mood was encouraging for investors to take on a little more risk in the short-term, traders said.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.3 percent on Monday, with its technology sub-index leading the gains. The main index lost about 1.5 percent last week but is up about 2 percent so far on the month.

Japan's Nikkei average climbed more than 2 percent, breaking above resistance at the level of its 25-day moving average at about 11,000, despite political uncertainty with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama in a tight spot over a U.S. base row. <.

It appears that Greece is getting aid, but whether this is the ultimate solution is a big question. As well, investors may be reluctant to buy the Nikkei much ahead of results later this week, said Nagayuki Yamagishi, a strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities.

The Nikkei was helped by a 3 percent jump in Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T>. A newspaper reported the automaker is likely to have posted an operating profit of as high as 50 billion yen ($532 million) for the past financial year, above a market consensus of 42.35 billion yen.

Still, the market was wary over the longer-term outlook after the International Monetary Fund cautioned the Group of 20 against overconfidence reviewing countries' forecasts for the next three to five years to see whether proposed policies would produce a stable mix of growth in rich and emerging economies.


The euro was steady at around $1.3380 after a short-covering rebound on Friday. It fell as far as $1.3201 in the previous session, its lowest since April 2009, but it recovered as Greece sought to activate the financial aid package.

Against the yen, the euro edged up 0.3 percent to about 126.00 yen, having risen 1 percent on Friday. Investors in the stock market welcome a weaker yen as it boosts exporters' profits when they are repatriated.

Commodity prices were also firm, encouraged by signs for a steady recovery in the economy.

Oil extended Friday's move above $85 a barrel as a sharp jump in U.S. new home sales signaled a stronger economic recovery and boosted the outlook for energy demand.

Copper prices rose more than 1 percent early on Monday, with London futures extending the previous session's gains, while gold was steady around one-week highs.

The Australian dollar, a commodity-linked currency, rose to a 19-month high of about 87.60 yen, while the Canadian dollar also rose to its highest since October 2008.

(Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Elaine Lies; Editing by Kazunori Takada)