Stocks up de­spite fears over Greece

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT -

Stocks rose for a sec­ond day af­ter an en­cour­ag­ing re­port on re­tail sales sug­gested that Amer­i­cans are fi­nally feel­ing con­fi­dent enough to spend more.

The mar­ket climbed from the start of trad­ing on Thurs­day, then pulled back at mid-morn­ing on fears over a pos­si­ble Greek de­fault but man­aged to hold on to mod­est gains. Seven of the 10 sec­tors of the Stan­dard and Poor’s 500 rose, led by a 0.7% in­crease in util­ity stocks.

In­vestors have wor­ried that cor­po­rate prof­its would stall if the U.S. econ­omy, and the con­sumers who drive much of its growth, didn’t show more vigor. The re­tail re­port for May helped ease those con­cerns, for the mo­ment at least.

“To­day’s news sug­gests that the con­sumer is back on track,” said Clark Yingst, chief stock strate­gist at Joseph Gun­nar & Co.

The S&P 500 climbed 3.66 points, or 0.2%, to 2,108.86. The Dow Jones industrial av­er­age in­creased 38.97 points, or 0.2%, to 18,039.37. The Nas­daq com­pos­ite rose 5.82 points, or 0.1%, to 5,082.51.

A drop in the price of oil pushed down en­ergy stocks. The top five big­gest losers in the S&P 500 were all en­ergy com­pa­nies.

In­vestors have been watch­ing eco­nomic news closely. The econ­omy con­tracted in the first three months of this year, but re­cent data, in­clud­ing a re­port last week of a burst of hir­ing last month, sug­gest things are pick­ing up.

The re­tail re­port showed that Amer­i­cans ramped up spend­ing on au­tos, build­ing ma­te­ri­als and cloth­ing, a sign that strong job growth is start­ing to boost sales at stores. Re­tail sales climbed 1.2% in May, the Com­merce Depart­ment said.

The rise in U.S. stocks fol­lowed a climb over­seas on hopes that Greece was mak­ing progress in its talks with cred­i­tors. The rally, which started in Asia and spread to Europe, faded af­ter news that cred­i­tors had told Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras to tone down his de­mands or face fi­nan­cial ruin. The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund took the tough­est stance, say­ing it was bring­ing its ne­go­tia­tors back to Wash­ing­ton.

Ger­many’s DAX ended the day up 0.6%, half as high as it was ear­lier in the day. France’s CAC 40 added 0.7% while Bri­tain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.2%.

Among other U.S. stocks mak­ing moves, Boe­ing gained $1.34, or 1%, to $142.96 af­ter pre­dict­ing that de­mand for planes would rise as mil­lions of peo­ple in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries f lew for the first time.

Am­gen rose $2.41, or 1.5%, to $157.96 af­ter a panel of ad­vi­sors at the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion rec­om­mended ap­proval of a drug for peo­ple at es­pe­cially high risk of clogged ar­ter­ies.

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