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U.S. stocks advanced, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index toward a second weekly rally, amid speculation global central banks will take steps to boost economies as investors awaited Greek elections this weekend.
Central banks intensified warnings that Europe’s failure to tame its debt crisis threatens the economy as Greece’s election in two days looms as the next flashpoint for investors. A victory by Syriza, the party that promises to renege on Greece’s end of the bailout, could speed the nation’s exit from the euro. The Group of 20 leaders prepare to gather in Mexico next week, and U.S. policy makers meet June 19-20.
Stocks rose today even as economic data disappointed. Industrial production unexpectedly fell in May for the second time in three months as factories turned out fewer vehicles and consumer goods. Confidence among U.S. consumers declined in June to the lowest level this year. Manufacturing in the New York region expanded in June at the slowest pace in seven months.
Some of the largest companies gained today. Microsoft (MSFT), the world’s largest software maker, added 2 percent to $29.92. Dow Chemical, the biggest U.S. chemical company by revenue, increased 2.7 percent to $32.87.
Facebook rose 2.1 percent to $28.87, extending its weekly advance to 6.5 percent. The company told regulators ahead of its initial public offering that the midpoint of its proposed price range wasn’t “meaningfully different” from a $30.89 per-share fair value estimate earlier this year.
SAIC Inc. jumped 3.2 percent to $12.03. The defense contractor specializing in computer services was raised to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan Chase & Co. The 6-month share-price estimate is $13.
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