Greek bailout talks lift stocks

Los Angeles Times - - TECHNOLOGY - As­so­ci­ated press

U. S. stocks ad­vanced Mon­day as in­vestors grew more op­ti­mistic that there would be a break­through in talks be­tween Greece and its lenders.

Stocks also got a boost from deal news in the health care and energy sec­tors.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age rose 103.83 points, or 0.6%, to 18,119.78. The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex rose 12.86 points, or 0.6%, to 2,122.85 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite climbed 36.97 points, or 0.7%, to 5,153.97.

Euro­pean na­tions were cau­tiously op­ti­mistic on Mon­day that a deal on Greece’s bailout was within reach this week, eas­ing fears that the coun­try would de­fault on its debt and leave the euro cur­rency. The coun­try needs more loans from Euro­pean lenders and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund to en­able it to make a June 30 debt pay­ment.

The main stock in­dexes in Europe closed broadly higher. Ger­many’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 each rose 3.8%, and Bri­tain’s FTSE 100 rose 1.7%

In the U. S., health in­sur­ers Cigna and An­them were sharply higher af­ter An­them made a $ 47- bil­lion bid to buy its com­peti­tor. An­them, which runs the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield health in­sur­ance net­work, was up $ 5.98, or 3.6%, to $ 171.04. Cigna was up $ 7.34, or 4.7%, to $ 162.60.

Other health in­sur­ers rose on spec­u­la­tion of more merg­ers in the in­dus­try. Aetna rose $ 3.98, or 3.2%, to $ 128.05.

In the energy mar­kets, the price of oil fin­ished lit­tle changed from Fri­day. Bench­mark U. S. crude rose 7 cents to close at $ 59.68 a bar­rel in New York. Brent crude, a bench­mark for in­ter­na­tional oils used by many U. S. re­finer­ies, rose 32 cents to close at $ 63.34 in Lon­don.

In other fu­tures trad­ing on the NYMEX, whole­sale ga­so­line fell 2.9 cents to close at $ 2.030 a gallon. Nat­u­ral gas fell 8.3 cents to close at $ 2.733 per 1,000 cu­bic feet.

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