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U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above the highest close since 2008, as earnings from Home Depot Inc. to Macy’s Inc. tempered concern that Greece’s debt crisis will persist even after a bailout.
Earlier today, stocks swung between gains and losses as European finance ministers approved 130 billion euros ($173 billion) in aid for Greece by tapping into European Central Bank profits and coaxing investors into providing more debt relief to shield the region from a default. Greece’s debt may still balloon to 160 percent of gross domestic product in a worst-case scenario, analysis by the International Monetary Fund and European officials indicated.
Dow 12,992.56 +42.69 +0.33%, Nasdaq 2,957.32 +5.54 +0.19%, S&P 500 1,366.38 +5.15 +0.38%
Alcoa (АА) increased 3.1 percent to $10.47. Newmont Mining increased 3.2 percent to $61.36
Home Depot (HD) gained 1.3 percent to $47.30. The company attracted customers who spent more as U.S. unemployment sank to a three-year low in January and builders began work on more houses. Warmer weather helped sales at stores open at least a year advance 5.7 percent, the biggest gain since a 7.7 percent increase in the first quarter of 2004. That topped the average estimate for a 3 percent gain by five analysts.
Macy’s added 4.4 percent to $37.84. Its profitability shrank less than analysts projected as it was able to sell women’s handbags and accessories with its planned promotions rather than by slashing prices during the holiday season. Planned promotions can be profitable while last-minute efforts to clear excess inventories erode margins.
Wal-Mart lost 3.9 percent to $60.02. Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke is working to contain Wal-Mart’s costs and last quarter started pulling the company’s greeters from store lobbies to help with customer-service tasks. The retailer is seeking to keep prices low as its low-income shoppers suffer from persistent unemployment.
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