NEW YORK – U.S. stocks opened higher Wednesday on hopes that a deal between Greece and its creditors could be cobbled together to prevent a Greek exit from the euro. Stocks in Europe rose sharply. In deal news, Chubb Corp. surged after agreeing to be acquired by rival insurance company Ace Ltd.
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KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 17 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,080, as of 10:08 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 169 points, or 1 percent, to 17,786. The Nasdaq composite gained 44 points, or 0.9 percent, 5,031.
GREEK DEBT CRISIS: Hopes that Greece could reach a deal with its creditors were raised after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wrote a letter to the nation's creditors and appeared to make concessions. Finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone are due to hold a teleconference over the new proposals. Stocks rose despite Greece's failure Tuesday to make a 1.6 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) debt payment due to the International Monetary Fund.
EUROPEAN STOCKS: The CAC-40 in France rose 2.6 percent. Germany's DAX climbed 2.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index of leading European shares was 1.6 percent higher.
DEAL NEWS: Chubb jumped $31, or 32 percent, to $126.19 after rival insurer Ace said it was buying the company in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $28.3 billion that will boost its international presence. The combined company plans to use the Chubb name and will have its main offices in Zurich, Switzerland, where Ace is based. The news pushed up the prices of other insurance companies.
NOT JUST GREECE: While much of the focus in financial markets is on Greece, there's a raft of U.S. economic data to come this week, notably on Thursday when the monthly nonfarm payrolls report is published. The data can often set the market tone for a week or two, especially at a time when the U.S. Federal Reserve is mulling when to start raising interest rates.
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U.S. businesses added jobs at a robust pace in June, a private survey showed on Wednesday. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses added 237,000 jobs last month, up from 203,000 in May. That is the most since December, according to the ADP's tally.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.25 to $58.21 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 89 cents to $62.71 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES AND BONDS: The euro fell 0.2 percent to $1.1067 while the dollar rose 0.6 percent to 123.10 yen. Bond prices fell, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note up to 2.43 percent from 2.35 percent on Tuesday.