Greek bailout talks lift stocks
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.