US Stocks Gain As Greece Worries Ease
First Published Thursday, 10th May 2012 06:16 pm - © 2012 Dow Jones
--Stocks rise; investors eye possible end to political stalemate in Greece
--DJIA on pace to snap six-session streak of declines
--Cisco Systems shares fall on downbeat outlook
By Chris Dieterich
OF Dow Jones NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Dow industrials were poised to break a six-session losing streak as a potential breakthrough by Greek political leaders eased concerns about the country's forced exit from the euro zone.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 61 points, or 0.5%, to 12896 in afternoon Thursday trade. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index advanced eight points, or 0.6%, to 1362, and the Nasdaq Composite rose six points, or 0.2%, to 2941.
Utility and energy stocks such as Chevron, which rose 2.4%, led the market higher. Technology stocks were the only group to lose ground as Cisco Systems slumped 10%. The blue-chip networking-equipment company gave a downbeat outlook for the quarter ahead, warning that big customers were exercising caution with technology spending.
U.S. stocks followed gains in Europe, where markets reversed course and turned higher. Boosting sentiment were emerging signs that Greek leaders could shore up their commitment to a fiscal austerity program seen as critical for the country to remain in the single-currency euro zone. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.6%, its first gain in three days, after declining as much as 0.7% early in the session.
"It's pretty rare for a market to simply go straight down or straight up, and I think we're in that bounce-back phase," Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland. "We'll see whether there's an outright explosion that turns thing really bad in Europe. They've been playing with explosives and the fuse continues to burn."
In economic news, investors eyed a weekly labor-market report that beat expectations. Claims for unemployment benefits fell slightly last week versus expectations for claims to rise, though a reading on the previous week was revised slightly higher. Separately, the U.S. trade deficit widened in March, as a wave of oil imports and Chinese goods overwhelmed record exports.
Asian markets were mostly lower after Chinese trade data showed activity slowed in April. China's Shanghai Composite inched up 0.1%, breaking a three-session slide. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.4%, losing ground for the second-straight session.
In other corporate news, Priceline.com fell 4.6% after the online travel booker reported first-quarter earnings that exceeded forecasts but provided a cautious outlook for the second quarter.
Avon Products gained 2.7% after Coty boosted its bid to buy the company by 6.5%, to $24.75 a share.
Kohl's fell 2.9% after the department-store operator reported first-quarter results that beat analyst estimates, but provided a second-quarter earnings outlook that was below current projections.
Monster Beverage surged 10% after the energy-drink maker reported first-quarter results that exceeded expectations as volume and gross margin increased.
-By Chris Dieterich, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2611; email@example.com