Stocks mixed as Greek talks pause

Los Angeles Times - - HIGHWAY 1 -

Stocks had a mixed day Fri­day, as in­vestors waited for ne­go­tia­tors to fin­ish their work on a so­lu­tion to Greece’s debt prob­lems. Chi­nese stocks plunged 7% as fears spread that a year­long bull rally there has be­come over­heated. China’s bench­mark in­dex is still up more than dou­ble over the last year.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age added 56.66 points, or 0.3%, to 17,947.02. It was largely lifted by Nike, which rose more than 4% af­ter post­ing strong quar­terly re­sults.

The Stan­dard & Poor’s 500 in­dex fell 0.70 of a point, or 0.03%, to 2,101.61 and the Nas­daq com­pos­ite lost 31.68 points, or 0.6%, to5,080.51. All three in­dexes ended the week slightly lower.

As they have done all week, global in­vestors are watch­ing closely as Greek debt talks go down to the wire. On Thurs­day, a key meet­ing of Eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters broke up with­out an agree­ment. The 19 min­is­ters are due to meet again Satur­day.

Greece needs a deal in or­der tomake a debt pay­ment of $1.8 bil­lion to the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund on Tues­day. Fail­ing to do so would put the coun­try on a path to­ward de­fault and a pos­si­ble exit fromthe euro.

“While these dead­lines can quite of­ten be taken with a pinch of salt, Greece has lit­er­ally run out of time on this oc­ca­sion,” said Craig Er­lam, se­nior mar­ket an­a­lyst at Oanda.

Next week, in­vestors will fo­cus on the U.S. gov­ern­ment re­lease of the June jobs re­port. Econ­o­mists forecast that U.S. em­ploy­ers cre­ated 237,500 jobs last month, ac­cord­ing to Fac­tSet.

There’s beena lot of fo­cus on when the Fed­eral Re­serve will raise its key in­ter­est rate. Re­cent eco­nomic data seem to show that the U.S. eco­nomic re­cov­ery is hold­ing steady, and now many in­vestors are ex­pect­ing the Fed to raise rates in Septem­ber.

“There’s a pre­mium on eco­nomic data right now. Out­side of Greece, ev­ery­one will be fo­cused on how the U.S. econ­omy is hold­ing up,” said Quincy Krosby, a mar­ket strate­gist at Pru­den­tial Fi­nan­cial.

Although Greece has been the main driver in fi­nan­cial mar­kets in re­cent weeks, wor­ries over China have risen on the list of con­cerns. On Fri­day, Chi­nese stocks plunged more than 7%. The Shang­hai com­pos­ite closed at 4,391.91. It reached5,300 two weeks ago.

In energy trad­ing, the price of oil was nearly flat Fri­day. It fin­ished the week lit­tle changed, and re­mained in a nar­row range for the ninth straight week. Bench­mark U.S. crude fell 7 cents to close at $59.63 a bar­rel in New York.

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