US stocks gain following latest Greek debt deal

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 11:10 AM

Joshua Freed

U.S. stocks opened higher Monday after Greece’s parliament voted over the weekend for spending cuts aimed at saving the country from bankruptcy.

Soon after trading began, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 54 points to 12,855. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose seven points to 1,349. The Nasdaq composite rose 20 points to 2,924.

Despite riots in Athens during the vote Sunday, the Greek government approved sharp cuts in civil service jobs, minimum wages and welfare. The cuts were required by international lenders in exchange for a $170 billion bailout package. Other details of the bailout still need to be finalized.

Stocks in Europe rose. The FTSE 100 in Britain was up 1 percent to 5,910. Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent to 6,743, and the CAC-40 in France rose 0.4 percent to 3,386.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.6 percent higher at 8,999, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 percent.

Gains in the U.S. were broad-based, with all 10 categories of stock in the S&P 500 gaining.

Shares of ATM maker Diebold Inc. rose almost 8 percent on strong sales to banks — a sign they may be willing to spend more to upgrade their technology.

The Greek debt deal appeared to take some pressure off U.S. banks. Moody’s Investors Services said the $25 billion settlement between mortgage lenders and states over foreclosure practices announced last week is a negative for all five major banks involved. However, most major banks, which have varying levels of exposure in Europe, gained on Monday.

Bank of America rose 2.7 percent, JPMorgan Chase gained 1 percent, and Citigroup rose 2 percent. Financial stocks as a group have been the best performers in the S&P this year, gaining 13 percent.

Apple rose 1.4 percent and crossed $500 per share for the first time.

The price of oil rose to nearly $100 a barrel. Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 93 cents at $99.60 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude was up $1 at $118.31 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

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