U.S. Stock Market
March 2, 2012 by staff
U.S. Stock Market, Banks dodged a big hit from the Greek debt crisis and rallied to lead the US stock market higher, while strong retail sales and more encouraging news about the US job market also helped stocks rise.
The banks of the world are on the hook for as much as 70 billion US dollars (£43 billion) in bond insurance payments if Greece defaults on its debt. But a panel ruled that Greece’s plan to restructure its debt should not trigger any insurance payments, at least not yet.
Bank stocks pushed higher in relief. Goldman Sachs jumped 5.2%, and Morgan Stanley gained 3.5%.
JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America were the top gainers in the Dow Jones industrial average. The Dow added 28 points to close at 12,980.30, a gain of 0.2%.
In the latest sign of improvement in the job market, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest point since March 2008. The four-week average was also the lowest in four years.
Oil climbed 1.77 dollars to 108.84 dollars a barrel. The surging price of oil has weighed on investors’ minds in recent weeks. Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, said higher oil prices could eventually cause a sharp drop in the stock market. They could also give money managers an excuse to take some winnings off the table after the S&P 500 gained 9% over the past two months.
“We’re going to have a pullback at some point, because money managers want to lock in their profits,” she said. “The catalyst could be these escalating oil prices.”
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