Stocks up despite fears over Greece
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.