The pound came under further pressure on Tuesday, battered by political worries and engorged public finances, while global equities stayed relatively buoyant.

Euro zone government bond prices slipped with traders waiting for the next developments in Greece's debt crisis, likely to come after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

World stocks as measured by MSCI <.MIWD00000PUS> were up about a third of a percent with emerging markets <.MSCIEF> leading the way and Japan's Nikkei <.N225> gaining around half a percent.

European shares struggled at the start but the FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> was up 0.1 percent.

Equity markets were generally higher in February after a negative January. Many are still in the red for this year and stocks no longer appear to be the one-way bet they were during last year's huge rally.

Wealth manager Sarasin said in a note that the rally is likely to continue but with corrections, prompting it to take some money off the table.

Since the risks of setbacks are gradually increasing, we would use strong market phases to further reduce our equity positions, it said.

European equities in particular remain skittish about the state of euro zone finances, with Greece and other member states struggling to get to grips with ballooning debt.

Earnings in general have been on the right side of things. But, what is still going on in the background is the Greece issue, said Bernard McAlinden, market strategist at NCB Stockbrokers in Dublin.

The European Union urged Greece on Monday to agree additional austerity measures within days to tackle its fiscal crisis and promised to help Athens overcome its debt problems.


Part of the focus within Europe was shifting to Britain, where a general election to be called in the first half of the year was creating uncertainty about attempts to fix the country's public finances.

Sterling was under pressure again, falling half a percent to $1.4916.

On Monday, it slumped to a 10-month low of $1.4781, and although it later trimmed some losses, still finished the day down 1.7 percent for its biggest one-day percentage fall in more than four months.

Investors worry that the election, due in months, may give neither the opposition Conservatives nor the ruling Labour Party a parliamentary majority, leading to a political stalemate.

The Australian dollar slipped, giving back earlier gains made after a 25 basis point interest rate rise by the Reserve Bank of Australia and hints of more to come.

(Additional reporting by Joanne Frearson; editing by John Stonestreet)