* Greece returns to bond markets, lifts fixed income
* Fed minutes prop up world equities
* Earlier gains on European shares fizzle out
* Equities best asset class - Hampstead Capital's van Dam
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, April 10 Greece's stunning return to the
bond market buoyed European fixed income assets on Thursday,
enabling euro zone bond prices to strengthen and outperform flat
Global equities had earlier risen after minutes from the
Federal Reserve's last meeting tempered concerns over future U.S
interest rate rises, although those gains later fizzled out.
The MSCI All-Country World index rose 0.2
percent while the similar MSCI World Index,
which only tracks stocks from developed economies, inched up by
In Europe, the MSCI Europe index edged down
by 0.2 percent while the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top
European shares slipped 0.5 percent.
Nevertheless, investors looked optimistically to Greece's
much-heralded return to the bond markets on Thursday for further
evidence that Europe's economic recovery is gathering pace.
Just two years after being at the epicentre of the euro
zone's sovereign debt crisis, Greece launched a 3 billion euro
($4.2 billion) five-year bond offering a yield of 4.95 percent.
The country's deputy prime minister Evangelos Venizelos said
the sale had been at least eight times oversubscribed.
Commerzbank strategist Michael Leister said the sale showed
the country was on track in terms of fighting back from a deep
"It's not a particularly cheap deal for them but they are on
the right track and it shows the debt crisis has eased
significantly," he said.
FED MINUTES PROP UP STOCKS
The Fed minutes released on Wednesday fuelled a rally on
Wall Street, where all three major U.S. stock indexes ended up
more than 1 percent.
Financial markets also pushed out expectations of a first
Fed rate hike by about six weeks, to July 2015, trading in
interest-rate futures showed, while the MSCI Emerging Market
index rose 0.6 percent.
The Fed's minutes also weighed on the U.S. dollar, which
traded flat against a basket of six major currencies.
"The Fed minutes suggested that the Fed committee was not as
hawkish as some had been led to perceive," said Hantec Markets
analyst Richard Perry.
Weak Chinese trade data earlier in Asia caused Brent crude
futures to ease towards $107 a barrel on Thursday, while
gold scaled fresh two-week highs.
However, Hampstead Capital hedge fund manager Lex van Dam
said equities remained his preferred asset class.
He said world stock markets remained buoyed by the efforts
of the Fed and other major central banks to support economic
growth and keep interest rates low.
"This does continue to make me believe that equities are the
best play in town."
($1 = 0.7234 Euros)
($1 = 0.7234 Euros)
(additional reporting by Hideyuki Sano, Blaise Robinson, Tricia
Wright and Emelia Sithole; Editing by Toby Chopra)