By CHRIS DIETERICH And TOMI KILGORE
Friday, June 15, 2012
NEW YORK—Stocks advanced as hopes that central banks stand ready to support global markets following a key Greek election overshadowed dismal U.S. manufacturing data.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 58 points, or 0.4%, to 12707 in early trading. The Dow has battled through sharp gains and losses this week and finished Thursday at a one-month high.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index gained five points, or 0.4%, to 1333, and the Nasdaq composite added seven points, or 0.3%, to 2843.
A reading on manufacturing activity in the New York area in June came in far lower than expected at a level that reflects only slight expansion. June’s reading was the lowest since November. A separate report showed U.S. industrial production fell slightly in May, compared with expectations for a modest rise.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell sharply to 74.1 in early June from its final-May reading of 79.3, missing economists’ forecast for a decline to 77.
“It’s a bifurcated story: the economy versus the potential for bank liquidity,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital, noting that Friday’s weaker-than-expected economic data were the latest in a series of sluggish U.S. economic reports.
“Bad data is, in some perverse way, good for the market. With bad economic data, people are hoping it’s going to force the Fed’s hand to more QE,” Mr. Sarhan, referring to quantitative easing.
European markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.7%. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated the central bank was ready to respond by providing liquidity if needed, while the Bank of England said it would flood its banking system with liquidity if needed to calm markets.
Asian markets were also mostly higher, with China’s Shanghai Composite gaining 0.5% and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average inching up less than 0.1%.
Crude-oil futures advanced 0.1% to $84.02 a barrel, while gold futures added 0.4% to $1626 a troy ounce. The U.S. dollar edged up against the euro but fell against the yen. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.592%.
In corporate news, shares of American International Group edged up after the insurer said it has reduced outstanding support from the U.S. government by more than $152 billion, with only about $30 billion worth of common stock owned by the U.S. Treasury as the remaining government investment.
Facebook rose, putting the stock on track to post back-to-back gains for just the second time since it went public on May 18. The stock added 3.7% on Thursday to close at the highest level so far this month.
MicroVision fell after announcing plans for a public offering of its common stock.