Stocks edge gain in early trading on Wall Street

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | Finance News

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gained early Tuesday, led by financial companies, in quiet trading ahead of the July 4th holiday in the U.S. Ford got a boost after reporting its best June for auto sales since 2006.

U.S. stocks have recovered from a slump last month after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was considering cutting back on its stimulus later this year, if the economy continues to improve. The central bank is buying $85 billion a month in bonds to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing.

The Dow Jones rose 52 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,030 as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained four points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,619. The Nasdaq composite added 11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,445.

As well as watching for clues of when the Fed will start to ease its stimulus and ultimately start to raise rates investors will this month turn their focus back to corporate earnings.

"We're in the middle of a transition," said Chris Wolfe, chief investment officer, at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group. "You would expect to see over the balance of this year and going into next year, somewhat stronger macro economic data that translates directly into stronger corporate revenue growth."

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.49 percent from 2.48 percent on Monday.

In commodities trading the price of oil rose 85 cents, or 0.9 percent, $98.85 a barrel. Gold fell $3.80, or 0.3 percent, to $1,251.90 an ounce. The dollar against the euro and the Japanese yen.

Among stocks making big moves: — Zynga jumped 32 cents, or 10 percent, after the troubled maker of "FarmVille" and other online games said its CEO Mark Pincus would step aside. The company's stock is down almost 70 percent since its 2011 initial public offering at $10 per share.

— Achillion Pharmaceuticals fell $1.92, or 22.6 percent, to $6.46 after the drug developer said federal regulators Monday placed a hold on an early-stage study of a drug combination involving its potential hepatitis C treatment.

— DaVita HealthCare Partners fell $7.14, or 5.9 percent, to $113.90, after the government proposed cutting the rates of Medicare payments to dialysis service providers.

— Ford rose 29 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $16.03 and General Motors rose 86 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $34.86. Ford reported that its vehicle sales jumped 13 percent last month compared with a year ago. GM reports sales later in the morning.

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SF Bay area transit strike snarls commute again

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | Finance News

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco Bay area commuters are enduring another tough morning commute because of a transit strike.

Bay Area Rapid Transit train workers stayed off the job for a second day on Tuesday, forcing hundreds of thousands of commuters to find alternate routes to work.

Traffic heading to San Francisco on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge around 6:30 a.m. was jammed leading to the bridge's toll plaza. Lines for ferries and buses appeared even longer than on Monday.

BART is running charter buses from some stations. It has doubled the number of buses serving West Oakland to 36.

Two of the largest unions representing Bay Area Rapid Transit workers went on strike after their contract expired Sunday night. No new talks have been scheduled.

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US stocks edge higher ahead of July 4th holiday

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | Finance News

NEW YORK (AP) — Major indexes are edging higher in early trading on Wall Street ahead of the July 4th holiday.

Ford is getting a boost after reporting its best June sales since 2006. General Motors also rose.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up two points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,616 in the first few minutes of trading Tuesday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 17 points, or 0.1 percent, to 14,992. The Nasdaq composite was up four points, or 0.1 percent, at 3,439.

U.S. markets will be closed Thursday for Independence Day.

Zynga, the troubled online game maker, jumped 10 percent to $3.37 after the company announced late Monday that its CEO was stepping aside and would be replaced by the head of Microsoft's Xbox division.

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