LONDON (Reuters) - Shares fell, the euro stumbled and yields on weaker euro zone economies’ bonds rose after Greece overwhelmingly voted against conditions for a rescue package, but there was no rout and contagion was limited.
U.S. stock index futures indicated Wall Street would follow European and Asian share markets lower but there have been several worse days this year for markets vulnerable to events in Greece.
Analysts attributed the relatively muted reaction to expectations the European Central Bank would act to limit any damage. The ECB’s governing council is holding a conference call on Monday to decide how long to keep Greek banks afloat.
“The market is, rightly or wrongly, taking a great deal of credence of the fact that the ECB has many more defence mechanisms in place than it did in 2011-12,” said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments.
“Some of the measures we’ve seen already could be seen as a subtle signal by the ECB that it is ready to step up... This point ...is very important to the market reaction.”
Many traders and analysts had expected a closer result or even a ‘Yes’ in Sunday’s referendum. In the event, more than 60 percent of those who voted rejected the conditions demanded by Greece’s creditors.
The euro zone blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index fell 1.8 percent, led down by a 3.2 percent fall in banks, but it has suffered bigger falls on eight previous days in 2015.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, was down just 0.7 percent by 1130 GMT.
Germany’s DAX was down 1.4 percent while Italy’s FTSE MIB index dropped 2.8 percent. Italy, Spain and Portugal are seen as the economies most vulnerable to contagion from Greece.
Some bankers said the result made it more likely Greece would leave the euro. But a poll of investors taken on Sunday by Germany’s Sentix research group showed expectations of a “Grexit” in coming months unchanged from a week earlier at 50 percent.
“Markets have yet to be convinced in full either that the (Greek) exit door will be open or that the extent of any contagion from this could be irreparably damaging to the system,” said Neil Williams, chief economist at Hermes Investment Management.
Yields on Italian, Spanish and Portuguese government bonds rose between 9 and 17 basis points. German 10-year yields fell 6.4 bps to 0.73 percent.
The yield gap between Italian and German 10-year bonds was on track for its widest close since the end of October.
Greek bond markets have been closed since the regulator requested their suspension last week but dealers’ quotes indicated two-year yields at 51.34 percent, the highest since the bonds were issued in July 2014.
U.S. 10-year Treasury yields dropped 9 bps to 2.30 percent as investors sought the safety of low-risk debt.
The euro weakened throughout the European morning and was last down 0.8 to $1.1023 and 0.8 percent against the safe-haven Japanese yen. It has fallen more than that against the dollar on 22 days this year.
It fell as low as $1.0967 in Asia before rebounding, garnering some support from the resignation of Greece’s outspoken finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.
The euro’s fall helped push the dollar up 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies
In Asia, the rush from risk took MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 2.8 percent in the steepest daily drop in two years.
Chinese stocks rose, however, after an unprecedented series of support measures from Beijing to halt a slide of around 30 percent since mid-June. The CSI 300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 2.9 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei shed 2.1 percent, while U.S. equity futures dropped 0.7 percent.
Brent crude oil futures fell more than $1.50 to $58.77 a barrel. Gold initially rose after the Greek vote, but gains fizzed out due to the dollar’s relative strength. It traded at $1,165.15 an ounce.
Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney, Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Patrick Graham, Lionel Laurent and Alistair Smout in London; editing by John Stonestreet