S&P 500 Rises as Earnings Outweigh Greece

As reported by Rita Nazareth of bloomberg, U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to the highest level since 2008, as earnings from Home Depot Inc. to Macy’s Inc. (M) tempered concern that Greece’s debt crisis will persist even after a bailout.

Home Depot, the world’s largest home-improvement retailer, and Macy’s, the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, added more than 1.7 percent as profit beat estimates. Alcoa Inc. (AA) and Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) rose at least 1.9 percent to pace gains in commodity producers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), the biggest retailer, fell 3.9 percent as low prices hurt margins.

The S&P 500 added 0.4 percent to 1,366.51 at 10:41 a.m. New York time. The benchmark index is at the highest level on a closing basis since June 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39.28 points, or 0.3 percent, to 12,989.15.

“The Greek bailout keeps the wheels on the bus,” James Dunigan, who helps oversee $107 billion as chief investment officer in Philadelphia for PNC Wealth Management, said in a phone interview. “The ride is a little smoother, but it doesn’t solve the longer-term issues,” he said. “In addition, the U.S. market got a bit extended. After the run-up we’ve had this year, a little pause wouldn’t surprise me.”

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.

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