BEIJING — Asian stock markets recovered on Tuesday, but European shares lost further ground as Greece moved within hours of default on a loan repayment due to the International Monetary Fund.
But while markets remained nervous, there was little sign of panic. Some investors still believed Greece might find a way to remain in the euro zone, or that the contagion effects to other European markets can be contained.
Debt-battered Greece pulled out of talks with creditors over the weekend, imposed capital controls that included closing banks. Ahead is a possible referendum for Sunday on whether to accept the deeper austerity cuts demanded by the European partners and lenders that provide Greece’s financial lifeline.
Rejection of the plan — as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged — is seen as a crucial step that could drop Greece from the single currency.
The impasse wiped almost $1.5 trillion off the value of worldwide equities Monday, the biggest single-day loss in two years, according to Bloomberg.
“Greece and the outcomes of a rejection of austerity have always been a known unknown, but the timing and sheer defiance from the Greeks have startled markets,” said Chris Weston, chief markets strategist at IG in Melbourne, in a daily market commentary. “Traders have been smacked into action and a real wake-up call has been provided.”
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.6 percent Tuesday, after a fall of nearly 3 percent the previous day. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index, a composite of regional shares excluding Japan, rose 1.19 percent after falling twice that amount Monday to reach a five-month low.
U.S. markets also rose slightly Tuesday. The S&P 500 index was up 0.3 percent, and the Dow Jones average had risen 0.4 percent by late morning.
But European markets were in worse shape. Britain’s FTSE-100 was down 0.9 percent in late morning trading, while Germany’s DAX fell 0.7 percent. The euro also fell, trading at $1.1183 to the U.S. dollar from $1.1216 Monday.
But while blue-chip euro-zone equities fell, they are still up around 10 percent since the start of the year, Reuters reported.
“Even after these market swings, a Greek exit is still not fully discounted as a positive outcome is still possible,” BNP Paribas Investment Partners said in a note to clients.
“With a majority of Greeks in favor of staying in the euro zone, there is a decent probability of a referendum outcome in favor of the creditors’ proposals. But until the results are known, we are likely to see continued market volatility.”
But the most volatile market this week has been in China. The Shanghai Composite Index was down more than 5 percent at one point, but recovered to end 5.5 percent higher after the central bank injected liquidity into the money market, and the state pension fund said it would aim at investing 30 percent of its vast holdings into domestic equities.
The rise broke three straight days of losses that had seen more than 20 percent wiped off the market’s value in a correction to a long surge. The Shanghai index still ended the first half of the year around 32 percent higher, the South China Morning Post reported.
In Brussels, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said his country wanted a strong euro zone and was prepared to play a "constructive role."
"It is in China's interest," he said, according to Reuters. "We would like to see Greece staying the euro-zone and we urge the international creditors to reach an agreement with the Greek side."