Stock market turns higher, erasing early losses
February 7, 2012
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks recovered from early losses Tuesday after the U.S. government reported that job openings soared to the highest level in nearly three years in December. Investors were also hoping that Greek leaders would agree on new cost-cutting measures being demanded by the country’s lenders.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 25 points at 12,870 shortly after noon Eastern. It had been down as many as 62 points in the first half-hour of trading. Coca-Cola rose 1 percent, the most in the Dow, after the company reported income that was higher than analysts were expecting.
In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained a point to 1,346. The Nasdaq composite rose 4 points to 2,906.
Stock indexes opened lower but then turned higher at midmorning after the government reported that the number of available jobs in the United States jumped in December to near a three-year high. Job openings in the private sector reached their highest point in almost three and a half years.
It was the latest sign that the job market was improving. The Dow jumped 156 points Friday after the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent as employers added more jobs in January.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose sharply to 1.97 percent, from 1.90 percent late Monday, as investors moved money out of low-risk assets. The higher yield is also a sign that investors expect that inflation could pick up as the economy continues to improve.
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Earlier in the day, stocks lost ground in reaction to more troublesome news in Greece, where talks dragged on over terms of new spending cuts.
Investors are monitoring talks in Athens over new cost-cutting measures being demanded by Greece’s lenders. They’re worried that the measures may not get passed in time to release the latest installment of emergency loans for the struggling country.
In the U.S., these stocks were among those making big moves:
– Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell and KFC, jumped 3 percent. The company’s income surged 30 percent in the fourth quarter on strong growth overseas and a turnaround in its Pizza Hut business in the U.S.
– Emerson Electric Co. lost 2 percent after the manufacturing and technology company said its first-quarter net income fell 23 percent as costs rose and sales took a hit from flooding in Thailand.
– Becton, Dickinson & Co., a medical technology company, fell 3 percent. The company’s income fell 17 percent in the latest quarter on higher costs for raw materials and other expenses. The company also cut its 2012 earnings forecast.