European markets

European stocks climbed in the opening minutes of trade, following a robust Asian market performance, as Cyprus managed to clinch a last-minute bailout deal.  

The FTSEurofirst 300 index, tracking the region's top shares, gained 0.7 percent to 1,197.2.

The UK's FTSE 100 added 0.6 percent while France's CAC-40 rose 1.5 percent. Spain's IBEX and Germany's DAX were up 1.4 and 1 percent respectively.

In Italy, the FTSE MIB rose 1.1 percent. The single currency showed modest pickup against the dollar, trading at about $1.29.

Market sentiments across the region improved after Cyprus managed to strike a bailout deal at the eleventh hour, averting a fiscal crisis that could have dented recovery efforts in the euro area.

Nicosia and its international lenders agreed on a deal that includes the closure of Cyprus's second biggest bank Laiki and a one-off levy on investors holding over €100,000. Investors below the threshold have been exempted from the payments.

Having managed to reach the agreement before the deadline set by the European Central Bank (ECB), Cyprus will continue to receive the emergency liquidity provision. But it is not clear when the Cypriot banks, which have remained closed since last week, will reopen.

The eurozone finance ministers also appear to have shifted from the €5.8bn mandate for the bailout. Speaking to CNBC in Brussels, the Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that the figure was not being used anymore.

"We're pretty confident that we can do what's necessary with the [Cypriot] government with the 10 billion euro bailout," he added.

While markets will continue to keep an eye on further news on the matter, the US and the UK central banks are expected to return to focus later in the day. The Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Bank of England's Mervyn King are set to speak at the London School of Economics in the evening.  

Asian markets had closed higher earlier, as news of the Cyprus bailout deal helped ease eurozone concerns that had weighed stocks lower in the previous session.

Japan's Nikkei gained 1.7 percent to end at 12546.5 while South Korea's KOSPI was up 1.5 percent to 1977.7. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 4990.2.

China's Shanghai Composite Index ended nearly 0.1 percent lower to 2326.7. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent higher to 22249.9 towards close.

Japanese market sentiments picked up as the yen resumed its downward spiral against the dollar after the Cyprus bailout deal eased eurozone concerns. The greenback traded at about 94.76 yen, helping some of the major exporter stocks in Tokyo. Financial stocks across Asian bourses also gained on the bailout news.