U.S. Stocks Hover Near Session Highs
06/12/2012| 03:54pm US/Eastern
--Stocks rise as investors cheer possible Europe banking union; DJIA UP 116
--Federal Reserve bank president's statements renew stimulus hopes
--Optimism offsets Fitch downgrade to 18 Spanish banks
By Chris Dieterich
NEW YORK--Stocks rebounded as investors cheered comments from a Federal Reserve Bank president and as Europe's central bankers said unified efforts are needed to combat the Continent's financial issues.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 116 points, or 0.9%, to 12527 in afternoon trading. Tuesday's gains pull blue chips closer to flat for the week following Monday's 143-point slide.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index rose 10 points, or 0.8%, to 1318. Industrial and materials stocks led all 10 of the S&P 500's sectors higher.
Boeing (>> The Boeing Company) shot up 3.2% to lead among the Dow stocks after analysts at Bernstein raised its stock recommendation to "outperform," citing a better outlook for the firm's 787 Dreamliner. American Express (>> American Express Company) rose 2.5%, and JPMorgan Chase (>> JPMorgan Chase & Co.) rose 2.1%.
The Nasdaq Composite added 21 points, or 0.7%, to 2830.
Markets continue to take their cues from Europe. After bobbing around the flat line early, major benchmarks pushed higher when the European Central Bank reiterated the euro zone needs to create a banking union.
Many expect volatile trading to continue ahead of a key election in Greece this weekend that could determine the country's future in the 17-nation euro currency bloc.
"A headline breaks, and everybody tries to get in front of everyone else, and then we can get these big moves," said Brian Lazorishak portfolio manager at Chase Investment Counsel. "It just feels like there's not a lot of conviction, it's just everybody to one side of the boat," Mr. Lazorishak said.
Also supporting Tuesday's gains were comments from Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans, who reiterated his support for additional monetary stimulus from the central bank in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
"This market seems to embrace the idea that flooding the system with money is going to somehow make things better. It's almost Pavlovian; someone says more stimulus, and boom," said Mike Shea, managing partner at Direct Access Partners.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.6%. The index briefly turned negative after Fitch Ratings downgraded the credit ratings on a host of Spanish banks. European markets moved higher even as the yield on 10-year Spanish government bonds hit a euro-era high, underscoring lingering concerns about an eventual bailout for the euro zone's fourth-largest economy on the heels of a bailout plan for its troubled banks.
Asian markets were broadly lower, pulling back from sharp gains in the previous session, as enthusiasm over Spain's bank bailout waned. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average shed 1% and China's Shanghai Composite gave up 0.7%.
In U.S. economic news, the National Federation of Independent Business's index of optimism among small businesses slipped slightly in May from the previous month, falling short of expectations for an unchanged reading.
Elsewhere, the Labor Department reported import prices for May posted their biggest monthly drop in nearly two years, an affirming signal for investors who view lower-inflation environment as hospitable to additional stimulus measures from the Fed.
Crude-oil futures rose 0.9% to $83.45 a barrel, while gold futures gained 0.7% to $1608 a troy ounce. The U.S. dollar lost ground against the euro but rose against the yen. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.658% as demand fell.
In corporate news, Apple (>> Apple Inc.) rose 0.5% after unveiling a series of software features for its mobile phones and computers Monday at the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco. A new mapping and navigation service, to be provided by Dutch navigation-equipment maker TomTom (TOM2.AE), will replace Google Maps as the default on iPhones and iPads.
Harman International Industries (>> Harman International Industries Inc./DE/) fell 5.9% as investors worried that Apple's new service could take market share from makers of dashboard global positioning-system devices.
Facebook (FB) rose 0.9% as the company defended itself against claims the advertising on the social network doesn't work. Research firm comScore released a study partially commissioned by Facebook that attempts to show the value of marketing on the site.
Zynga (>> Zynga Inc) shares slumped 10% to a fresh all-time low amid an analyst report by Cowen that its number of daily users declined for two months in a row.
Texas Instruments (>> Texas Instruments Incorporated) gained 2.4% after the company was more optimistic about its second-quarter earnings and revenue outlooks.
FactSet Research Systems (>> FactSet Research Systems Inc.) slid 11% after the company reported fiscal third-quarter earnings that topped estimates, but gave a somewhat downbeat outlook for fourth-quarter revenue.
Michael Kors Holdings (KORS) rose 4.8% after the luxury retailer reported quarterly earnings more than doubled, beating expectations. The company issued guidance that was more positive than expected.
Write to Chris Dieterich at firstname.lastname@example.org