06/22/2015 17:01 EDT | Updated 06/22/2016 01:12 EDT

North American market surge amid renewed optimism over Greek debt crisis

TORONTO - North American markets closed solidly higher, with the Nasdaq hitting a new all-time high, amid renewed optimism in Europe that Greece will reach a deal with its creditors and avoid a default.The S&P/TSX composite index gained 137.36 points to 14,790.48, with nearly all sectors closing higher, while the loonie was down 0.40 of a U.S. cent at 81.13 cents.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 103.83 points to 18,119.78 and the S&P 500 climbed 12.86 points to 2,122.85.The Nasdaq shot up 36.97 points to close at a record 5,153.97.Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investment, says global markets were buoyed by news that European officials are hopeful that a deal on a financial bailout for Greece is within reach this week."Everybody's been watching the Greece situation quite carefully, and it was looking kind of dim last week," Adatia said.However, news that Greece has softened its stance and is willing to negotiate and move closer towards what the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are asking for is a positive sign, Adatia said."I think that alone was what's giving the markets a nice lift today," he said.With leaders from the 19 European countries that use the euro gathering in Brussels, financial officials gave a tentative endorsement to new Greek proposals for spending cuts and reforms in exchange for billions of euros in fresh loans.Greece's economy minister, Giorgios Stathakis, said his country's latest offer effectively breaks the deadlock with international lenders.The proposals include new taxes on business and the wealthy but no further cuts in pensions or public sector salaries, still a "red line" for Greece, he said.However, Athens will make tougher rules on early retirement and shift some categories of goods to a higher sales tax bracket, including hotels and certain foods. Emergency bailout taxes that had been imposed will remain, even though Tsipras had pledged to phase them out.The current talks centre on releasing the last 7.2 billion euros in the country's bailout program, which expires at the end of the month.Without that money, Athens is likely to default on a big payment owed June 30 to the International Monetary Fund, something that could lead to an exit from the euro currency and possibly the European Union as well.Despite the rally, Adatia cautions there is still a long way to go before Greece is out of the woods."Even if everything gets resolved, it's not certain that Greece will get the money in time to avoid a default on their loans," he said.On the commodity markets, the August crude contract gained 41 cents to US$60.38 a barrel, while August gold fell $17.80 to US$1,184.10 an ounce.In U.S. economic news, sales of existing homes rose in May, recovering from a decline in April.— With files from the Associated Press