US Stocks Mixed, Though Dow Cracks 13000

Date : 02/21/2012 @ 3:37PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Mondelez International, Inc. (MM) (KFT)
Quote : 42.52  0.0 (0.00%) @ 2:05AM

US Stocks Mixed, Though Dow Cracks 13000

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average pierced the 13000 level for the first time since before the financial crisis, but traded largely below the mark during a choppy session in which stocks were negative at times.

The Dow broke 13000 before noon on Tuesday and a handful of other times throughout the day, but was down 17 points, or 0.1%, at 12933 in afternoon trading. The Dow last traded at the 13000 level on May 20, 2008. The last time the Dow closed above that level was May 19, 2008. Back then, the index was on the way down from its historic high of 14198 in October 2007.

Now, the milestone is just the latest step in a rally that has brought the index up 22% since early October amid encouraging U.S. economic data, and stocks are a bargain relative to corporate profits.

Though the round number means little in terms of investing fundamentals, it signals resurgent market faith from investors.

"I think this is something that we look at but don't put a ton of weight in. It's all numbers, and it's just the sentiment that people want to invest," said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was down 2.8 points, or 0.2%, to 1358. The Nasdaq Composite was down 17 points, or 0.6%, to 2935.

Four of the S&P sectors were higher, led by energy and telecommunications stocks but weighed on by health care shares. Among blue chips, Alcoa rose the most, gaining 2.4%, followed by Chevron, which was up 1.5%.

Euro-zone finance ministers agreed to a EUR130 billion ($172 billion) rescue deal that requires private creditors to take a 53.5% write-down on their Greek debt. That is more than the 50% agreed on in October.

The agreement for a Greek bailout "shows resolve by Europe's leaders and central banks that the system isn't going to fall apart," said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Philadelphia-based Glenmede. "Greece is not a big portion of the European economy, so this by itself does not necessarily drive the dynamic, but what happens in Greece has symbolic effects for Spain, Italy and Portugal."

Still, European markets gave back some of the previous session's gains as investors expressed caution over whether the bailout deal has solved Greece's debt problems. The Stoxx Europe 600 ended down 0.5%.

Asian bourses were mixed after the Greek deal news. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.2% while China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.8%.

Gold futures dropped 0.1% to $1,757.40 a troy ounce, while oil prices were down 0.1%, to $106.12 a barrel. The dollar lost ground against the euro, but edged higher against the yen. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.05%.

In corporate news, Wal-Mart Stores slid 4.4% after the retailer reported somewhat disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter results, and provided outlooks for the current quarter and fiscal year that were less than upbeat.

Home Depot rose 0.2% after the home improvement retailer's fiscal fourth-quarter earnings exceeded expectations. The outlook for the year was upbeat.

Kraft Foods rose 1.6% after the packaged-food company reported fourth-quarter earnings that were in line with estimates. Revenue fell a bit shy.

Wynn Resorts climbed 6.5% after the casino operator said it has asked co-founder Kazuo Okada to resign from the board after an investigation found him to be "unsuitable."

GTx slumped 34%. The company said the Food and Drug Administration placed a hold on clinical trials evaluating GTx's prostate-cancer treatment following reports of increased risk of blood clots.

Corcept Therapeutics soared 47%. The company said the FDA approved its oral medicine to treat Cushing's syndrome, an endocrine disorder.

-By Christian Berthelsen, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2381;

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