US stocks rise for 2nd day on higher oil, Greek debt hopes

AP News
Posted: Feb 03, 2015 11:16 AM
US stocks rise for 2nd day on higher oil, Greek debt hopes

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose in morning trading on Tuesday on higher oil prices and signs that the new Greek government won't press for a write-off of its bailout loans. European stocks were higher, too.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 139 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,500 at 11:09 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,030. The Nasdaq composite rose less than two points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 4,678.

ENERGY UP AGAIN: Energy stocks followed the price of oil higher, rising 1.7 percent, the second-biggest gain among the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500. U.S. benchmark oil gained $1.67 to $51.24 a barrel in New York. It's the fourth day of gains for crude.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: Germany's DAX rose 0.8 percent while the CAC-40 in France was up 1.2 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.4 percent. In Athens, the main stock market index spiked 11 percent.

GREEK GIFT: Greece's finance minister said the new radical left government was willing to accept alternative strategies for making his country's debt load more bearable. The Financial Times reported that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had backed off the idea of a flat debt write-off in a meeting in London on Monday. Instead, he suggested replacing old debt with new bonds that would be repaid only if Greece's economy grows. He also suggested using interest-only bonds.

ANALYST'S TAKE: Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said Greece's proposals have "soothed fears that the new Greek government was intent on provoking a confrontation with its European partners, with a view to exiting the euro." At the very least, Hewson said investors are pleased that a new approach is being tried "given how much of a disaster the current bailout program has been."

DEAL IN THE WORKS: Shares of the office supply store chain Staples jumped $1.85, or nearly 11 percent, to $19.01 following a report in the Wall Street Journal that the company is in advanced talks to combine with Office Depot. Office Depot leapt $1.48, or 18 percent, to $9.10.

REVVING CAR SALES: Ford and General Motors each rose more than 1 percent after reporting jumps in sales last month. Ford rose 19 cents to $15.46. GM jumped 77 cents to $33.88.

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Separately, AutoNation, the country's largest chain of car dealerships, rose $2.94, or 5 percent, to $62.28 after reporting record per-share quarterly profits, beating Wall Street's estimates.

DECISION DOWN UNDER: The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a record low of 2.25 percent in an attempt to revive the country's economy, which is being weighed down by falling commodity prices. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.5 percent to close at its highest level since May 2008.

ASIA'S DAY: The Shanghai Composite Index surged 2.4 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent and South Korea's Kospi was flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.3 percent.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose 1 percent to $1.1461 while the dollar rose 0.1 percent to 117.61 yen.

BONDS: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.76 percent from 1.67 percent.