European shares rallied on Tuesday and the euro pulled away from a two-year dollar low, as investors cautiously approved a eurozone deal to help Spain, and shrugged off weak Chinese data.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading shares gained 0.71 percent to 5,667.53 points in morning trading, Frankfurt's DAX 30
won 1.16 percent to 6,461.5 points and the Paris CAC 40 jumped 1.08 percent to 3,190.88.
Madrid's IBEX 35 index rebounded 1.26 percent to 6,775.10 points and Rome's FTSE Mib soared 1.56 percent to 14,028.42.
The euro steadied at $1.2313, one day after striking $1.2251 - the lowest point since July 1, 2010 - on heightened concerns over soaring Spanish bond yields.
Eurozone finance ministers agreed late on Tuesday to offer Spain 30 billion euros ($37 billion) this month to help its distressed banks as they raced to battle market scepticism over efforts to tackle the debt crisis.
They also extended a deadline for Spain to cut its public deficit to the EU's 3.0 percent limit by one year to 2014 because of the difficult economic conditions it faces.
“Spain has been given an extra year to reach its deficit reduction targets by eurozone ministers,” said GFT Markets analyst David Morrison.
“Spanish and Italian bonds are a touch firmer so yields have fallen slightly. However, both remain firmly in the spotlight as Spanish 10-year yields continue to trade around the 7.0-percent danger level,” he warned.
After nine hours of talks, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg premier who also heads the Eurogroup said a memorandum of understanding for Spain would be formally signed “in the second half of July,” with 30 billion euros available by the end of the month.
Spain, under increasing pressure as markets pushed its borrowing costs to above the dangerously high 7.0-percent threshold, had called for up to 100 billion euros in direct aid at a June 28-29 “breakthrough” EU summit.
Meanwhile, Germany's top court began hearing challenges to euro crisis-fighting tools on Tuesday, in a process that could hamper Chancellor Angela Merkel's efforts to tackle the turmoil.
The powerful Constitutional Court in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe will weigh a raft of complaints against the eurozone's permanent ESM rescue shield and the European fiscal pact for greater budgetary discipline.
Germany's parliament has already passed the two pieces of legislation with a two-thirds majority but the country's president has held off from signing them into law pending these challenges.
This has delayed the planned entry into force of the 500-billion-euro ($615 billion) ESM that is designed to help countries battered by the debt crisis, as the mechanism cannot come into force without Berlin's final ratification.
“The FTSE struggled for headway in the early part of the session (on Tuesday), but was able to erase any losses and move firmly into positive territory on rumours that the German constitutional court would approve the European Stability Mechanism (ESM),” said IG Index analyst Chris Beauchamp.
He added: “However, even if the court does approve the measure, the ESM still has insufficient firepower to rescue both Spain and Italy.”
Asian markets also fell as weakening demand for imports in China provided new evidence of a slowdown in the region's biggest economy.
Hong Kong lost 0.16 percent, Tokyo dropped 0.44 percent and Shanghai closed down 0.29 percent, while Sydney dipped 0.49 percent and Seoul was off 0.36 percent.
Official data showed China's trade surplus expanded in June as demand for imports fell more sharply than expected, adding to investor nerves before the release of more key data this week including second-quarter GDP.
The trade surplus widened last month to 42.9 percent compared to the same period the previous year, according to figures from the General Administration of Customs.
Exports for the month rose 11.3 percent year-on-year to $180.21 billion, but imports climbed just 6.3 percent to reach $148.48
billion, according to the government's data.
China's economy grew an annual 8.1 percent in the first quarter, its slowest pace in three years. The government will release the gross domestic product for the second quarter on Friday, with growth expected to have slowed further.
Wall Street sank on Monday ahead of the opening of earnings season, with global economic woes weighing on sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.28 percent.
Aluminium giant Alcoa, which kicked off earnings season after the US markets closed, turned in a net loss for the three months of $2 million, in line with expectations.
In the coming days, investors will also digest corporate earnings news from other major companies, including Chevron on Wednesday and JP Morgan on Friday. - Sapa-AFP