Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wall Street Climbs On Greek Hope, Citigroup (NYSE: C) Rallies

US stocks climbed Tuesday amid hopes that Greece will take appropriate actions toward averting a sovereign-debt default. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 109.63 points, or 0.91%, to finish at 12,190.63. The S&P 500 climbed 17.16 points, or 1.34%, to close at 1,295.52. The Nasdaq Composite rallied 57.60 points, or 2.19%, to 2,687.26.

The market expected a vote of confidence in Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou new cabinet to pass on Tuesday -- the first of three hurdles the government must clear to avert the euro zone's first sovereign debt default. A successful vote could reassure investors that the country will push through budget cuts required for getting the latest installment of emergency loans. Worries that a default by Greece could upend financial markets have kept investors on edge since early May.

The National Association of Realtors reported Tuesday that existing home sales fell 3.8% to an annualized rate of 4.81 million in May from a rate of 5 million in April.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee started its two-day meeting Tuesday. The central bank's interest rate decision will be announced on Wednesday.

Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) reported Tuesday that its first-quarter profit rose to $603 million, or 65 cents a share, from $463 million, or 47 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter. Revenue rose 6.8 percent to $18.38 billion from $17.20 billion. Analysts, on average, expect the company to report earnings of 62 cents per share on revenue of $18.33 billion. The company also said that contract renewal negotiations with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts, Inc. (NASDAQ: ESRX) have been unsuccessful, and as a result the company is planning not to be part of Express Scripts' pharmacy provider network as of Jan. 1, 2012. Shares of the company slumped $1.90, or 4.21%, to close at $43.28.

Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) reported that its second quarter profit dropped to $206 million, or 26 cents per share, from $252 million, or 32 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose to $3.6 billion from $3.3 billion. Analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of 23 cents per share on revenue of $3.52 billion. Shares of the company surged $1.51, or 4.23%, to $37.24.

Shares of Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE: C) rallied $1.15, or 3.01%, to close at $39.31. 

European stocks closed higher. The UK FTSE rose 81.92 points, or 1.44% to 5,775.31. The German DAX and French CAC increased 1.89% and 2.04% respectively.

Asian stocks finished down. The Nikkei 225 climbed 105.34 points, or 1.13%, to 9,459.66. The Hang Seng index of Hong Kong rose 251.08 points, or 1.16%, to 21,850.59.

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