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Stocks mostly up after Dow briefly touches 13,000

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch –

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks finished mostly higher Tuesday after European officials agreed to another round of aid for Greece, pushing the Dow industrials briefly above 13,000 for the first time since 2008.

“When the market is on a roll, it’s on a roll,” said Adrian Day, president of Day Asset Management in Annapolis, Md.

“We know we’re going to be revisiting Greece in a few months,” Day added.

After topping 13,000 for the first time since May 2008, the Dow Jones industrial average ended at 12,965.69, up 15.82 points, or 0.1 percent.

Dow component Home Depot Inc. was among those that lifted the blue chips after the home-improvement retailer reported a profit that topped Wall Street’s expectations.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell 3.9 percent, with the discount retailer weighing on the Dow after its earnings fell short of estimates.

The S&P 500 index climbed within a few points of 1,370, its May 2011 high. It finished at 1,362.21, up nearly 1 point to its highest close since April 29.

Between that day and Oct. 3, 2011, the S&P fell 19 percent. Since that drop, the index has risen more than 24 percent.

“Even if you believe this is a bull market, the market needs to be able to absorb its gains in order to get a better footing going forward,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior analyst at S&P Indices.

The Nasdaq composite fell 3.21 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,948.57.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude-oil futures finished at $105.84 a barrel, up $2.60, and gold futures gained $32.60 to end at $1,758.50 an ounce.

Though the price of oil is still important, it is less so than in years past, Day noted.

“We’re much more efficient users of energy than we used to be, and the economy is less manufacturing denominated than service, so the input of oil per output of production is considerably less than it was,” Day said.

“We had good news on Greece, and good news on earnings, and that is overwhelming the price of oil,” said Day of the muted impact on investor sentiment of oil’s rise to a nine-month high.

In Brussels, euro-area finance ministers approved another rescue for debt-encumbered Greece. The 130-billion-euro financial package, or $172 billion, still left doubts, however, about how durable the fix would prove.

An analysis by European and International Monetary Fund officials reportedly concluded Greece’s debt could widen to 160 percent of its gross domestic product in 2020.

“This is a short-term solution that permits you to rebuild, but you still have to rebuild,” S&P’s Silverblatt said.

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