Market Wrap: Wall Street Gains on Optimism About Greece

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Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP
By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks jumped Wednesday, helped by optimism that Greece may be closer to reaching a deal with creditors, and by gains in technology and financial shares.

All 10 major S&P 500 sectors ended higher, with the technology index up 1.6 percent and leading the gainers.

The S&P financial index, which has risen with the prospect of higher rates, climbed 1.4 percent and turned positive for the year.

The chairman of eurozone finance ministers said a cash-for-reform deal with Athens was still possible in time for their June 18 meeting, with just a few issues remaining to be solved, but Greek counter-proposals weren't yet satisfactory.

A Bloomberg report said the German government may settle for a clear commitment by Greece to at least one reform measure in order to unlock aid.

"The notion that they're going either kick the can down the road some more or actually come up with some kind of mutually acceptable deal is a mild positive. It's more the avoidance of a short-term negative," said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners in New York.

Netflix (NFLX) was up 3.7 percent at $671.10 and hit a record intraday high of $692.79, a day after shareholders approved a massive increase in the number of shares the company is authorized to issue, the first step toward a possible stock split.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 236.36 points, or 1.3 percent, to 18,000.4, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GSPC) gained 25.05 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,105.2 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 62.82 points, or 1.3 percent, to 5,076.69.

U.S. stocks have been under pressure as investors expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise rates sooner rather than later. The Fed has said it will raise rates only if data points to a recovery in the U.S. economy, which had come to a standstill in the first quarter.

HCC Insurance Holdings (HCC) shares rose 36.4 percent to $77.35 after Tokio Marine Holdings said it had agreed to buy U.S. specialty insurer for $7.5 billion.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,207 to 849, for a 2.60-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 2,032 issues rose and 731 fell for a 2.78-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 35 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 167 new highs and 34 new lows.

About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 6 billion daily average for June so far, according to BATS Global Markets.

-With additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal.

What to watch Thursday:
  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, and the Commerce Department releases retail sales data for May.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, and the Commerce Department releases business inventories for April.
  • Retailer Restoration Hardware (RHI) reports quarterly financial results after U.S. stock markets close.
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