Stocks Close Higher Ahead of Greece Vote
Stocks finished more than 1 percent higher across the board Tuesday, extending the previous day's rally, amid optimism over a solution for Greece's debt crisis and ahead of the quarter's end.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 145.13 points, or 1.21 percent, to finish at 12,188.69, marking another triple-digit gain to log its best day in over two months.
Caterpillar , McDonald's and Home Depot led the blue-chip index gainers while JPMorgan was among the few laggards.
The S&P 500 advanced 16.57 points, or 1.29 percent, to close at 1,296.67. The tech-heavy Nasdaq climbed 41.03 points, or 1.53 percent, to end at 2,729.31.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slipped near 19.
Among key S&P 500 sectors, energy and consumer discretionary were the top gainers.
However, volume was on the lighter side with the consolidated tape of the NYSE at 3.19 billion shares, while 804 million shares changed hands on the floor.
Despite the day's gains, some strategists still remain skeptical that the correction has come to an end.
"I'd like to see another 2-percent move in the Nasdaq and S&P and then I'll be more inclined to be a buyer on the strength," Matthew Cheslock, senior specialist of Cohen Capital Group told CNBC. "Right now, you can sell into this rally as you should be prone to do when there is buying."
Greek lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday and Thursday on the austerity measures, which must be passed in order to receive the next payment of its bailout.
If the government does not get the next tranche, analysts said Greece could defaulton its debt, possibly sparking a Europe-wide crisis and potential credit market freeze.
Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered in central Athensat the start of a 48-hour strike to protest the vote.
The euro edged higher against the dollar but gains were limited ahead of the vote.
Oil prices gained with U.S. light, sweet crude rose $2.28 to settle at $92.89 a barrel, while London Brent crude climbed $2.79 to settle at $108.78. Oil services climbed across the board including Halliburton, Nabors and Schlumberger.
Meanwhile, airlines including Delta and AMR slipped amid concerns rising oil prices will eventually translate into higher gasoline costs.
Kraft gained following news that billionaire investor Nelson Peltz has bought $420 million worth of sharesin the food producer, CNBC learned.
Microsoft edged higher after the software giant said it is making a move into cloud computing. The firm is expected to unveil an online version of its Office software later today.
LinkedIn jumped after underwriters UBS, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and BofA Merrill Lynch all endorsed the social networking firm with a "buy" rating.
Meanwhile, Motorola Mobility slipped after BMO Capital downgraded the smartphone maker's stock to an "underperform" rating.
In earnings news, Nike jumped after the sports apparel maker's quarterly results blew past expectationsMonday.
Monster Worldwide soared to lead the S&P index after the Citi reiterated its "buy" rating on the online employee recruitment firm's stock.
Gilead Sciences and Johnson & Johnson gained after the drugmakers announced they are teaming up to produce a fixed dose combination HIV drug.
Meanwhile, Altria declined after the FDA said it is reviewing research to determine the public health impact of menthol cigarettes.
Accenture is expected to join the S&P 500 index next week, replacing Marshall & Ilsley , which is in the process of being acquired by Bank of Montreal .
Meanwhile, Zyngamay file to register for an IPOas early as Wednesday, with a goal of raising $1.5 billion to $2 billion, CNBC learned. Morgan Stanley was chosen as lead underwriter for the offering.
Treasury prices extended lossesafter the government auctioned $35 billion in 5-year notes, which had a high yield of 1.615 percent and a bid-to-cover of 2.59.
On the economic front, home prices in major U.S. cities gained for the first time in eight months, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index.
“I’m a bit of an optimist and I think we’re going to stabilize,” said Howard Landsberg, partner at WeiserMazars LLP Real Estate Group.
Landsberg said there needs to be a rebound in consumer confidence before housing numbers can rise.
However, consumer confidence slipped to its lowest since November 2010, according to the Conference Board.
Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said economic growth is likely to pick up in the months ahead, adding it would not be "unimaginable" to see a 4-percent growth in the second half, more than twice the tepid 1.8 percent rate seen in the first quarter.
The debt saga continues in the U.S., as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithneris not expected to significantly shift the Aug. 2 date when the government will have exhausted all of its emergency measures to stave off default, according to a report from Reuters.
The IMF board selected Christine Lagarde to serve as the managing director and chairman for a five-year term starting on July 5, 2011. Lagarde succeeds Dominique Strauss-Kahn and is the first woman to the chief IMF post.
European shares closed higheramid optimism that Greece's parliament would pass the vote on austerity measures.
On Tap This Week:
WEDNESDAY: Weekly mortgage apps, pending home sales index, oil inventories, 7-yr note auction, farm prices, Dell analyst meeting, Fed meeting on card fees; Earnings from Family Dollar, General Mills, KB Home, Monsanto
THURSDAY: Weekly jobless claims, Fed's Bullard speaks, Chicago PMI, End of QE2, Marathon Oil split takes place
FRIDAY: Consumer sentiment, ISM mfg index, construction spending, Biden's deadline for deficit plan, HP launches TouchPad, auto sales
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