Stocks Flip-Flop; Traders Eye S&P Move, Corporate News


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Stocks floated in a tight range Monday, with defensive sectors generally lagging, as traders digested S&P's upgrade of the U.S. credit outlook and a smattering of corporate news.

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Today's Markets

As of 11:58 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22.6 points, or 0.15%, to 15272, the S&P 500 advanced 3 points, or 0.29%, to 1646 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 12.2points, or 0.35%, to 3481.

Last week was a volatile one for Wall Street. The markets took a thrashing mid-week on worries about when the Federal Reserve will begin slowing down its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. However, a round of strong, but not too strong, jobs data Friday sent traders racing back into equities.

While trading was quiet on Monday, defensive sectors like utilities and consumer staples fared the worst. Safe-haven U.S. Treasury bonds also fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year up to 2.192%.

Standard & Poor’s boosted its outlook on the U.S. credit rating to ‘stable’ from ‘negative.’ The ratings company currently has the U.S. rated at ‘AA+’. The other two major ratings firms, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch, both have still have a top-notch rating on the country.

In corporate news, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) said its global same-store sales jumped 2.6% in May, easily outpacing estimates of 1.9%. Shares of the world's biggest burger chain advanced solidly on the news.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) kicks off its Worldwide Developers Conference on the day. The tech giant is expected to roll out the next version of iOS, the software that powers its mobile devices. On top of that, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company may also announce a music streaming service that could compete with Pandora (NASDAQ:P) and a new Apple TV.

IHS said it will buy R.L. Polk & Co. as it looks to expand its reach into the automotive-data sector. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was near a deal to buy Waze, a traffic and navigation app, for roughly $1 billion, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The search behemoth reportedly edged out Apple and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), who were both said to be eyeing the firm.

The economic calendar is bare on Monday, but picks up as the week progresses. Among the key data on tap are a report on retail sales, two reports on inflation, and a key gauge of consumer sentiment.

St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard gave a somewhat tepid backing to continued quantitative easing.

"Inflation in the U.S. has surprised to the downside,” he said according to a statement from the St. Louis Fed. "This configuration of data suggests that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) can continue to pursue its aggressive asset purchase program."

Commodities were mildly lower. The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract dipped 59 cents, or 0.61%, to $95.44 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.49% to $2.857 a gallon. In metals, gold dropped $1.70, or 0.12%, to $1,381 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.06% to 2726, the English FTSE 100 edged lower by 0.13% to 6404 and the German DAX jumped 1% to 8337.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 4.9% to 13514 and the Chinese Hang Seng ticked higher by 0.18% to 21615.

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