Upbeat Corporate News Curbs Greek Woes

FOX Business: The Power to Prosper

Encouraging news from big-name companies like Caterpillar helped traders overcome uneasiness over the Greek sovereign debt situation, sending the markets solidly higher.

Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 76 points, or 0.63%, to 12,080, the S&P 500 climbed 6.9 points, or 0.54%, to 1,278 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 13.2 points, or 0.5%, to 2,630. The FOX 50 was up 2.9 points to 896.

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) was the top-performing component on the Dow on the day. The world's largest heavy machinery maker unveiled a 52% jump in dealer sales over the past three months ended in May.  The rate of the increase, however, was the lowest since January.

Retail behemoth Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) won a ruling in what would have been the largest sex-discrimination lawsuit ever after the Supreme Court overturned a lower-court decision giving the case class action status.

Also on the corporate front, PNC Financial Services Group unveiled plans to buy Royal Bank of Canada's U.S. retail banking business for $3.45 billion in a bid to expand into the southeast market. The Food and Drug Administration approved a new pain drug from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Acura Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ACUR).

Concerns of the Greek sovereign debt situation, which were the cause of substantial volatility on Wall Street last week, were once again in the spotlight. The nation has a sovereign debt burden of nearly $500 billion -- 150% of its annual economic output.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have already agreed on a roughly $156 billion bailout package to the embattled nation, which has proved insufficient. In a meeting early Monday, the Euro Group, which is made up of finance ministers representing euro zone countries, pushed back a decision a $17 billion emergency loan, which Greece hopes will help it avoid defaulting on its debt, until early July.

The group is waiting on the Greek parliament to vote on measures to cut down the budget deficit -- a move that has been highly-unpopular among the Greek public. Either a default or a debt restructuring, analysts say, could have a cascading effect that could affect global credit markets.

The euro gained 0.2% against the U.S. dollar and the greenback fell 0.02% against a basket of world currencies.

Energy markets ended the session on the fence.

Light, sweet crude rose 25 cents, or 0.27%, to $93.26 a barrel after plunging 6% last week. Indeed, oil is now up only 2% since the beginning of 2011. Wholesale RBOB gasoline was down 3 cents, or 1.2%, to $2.91 a gallon.

Gasoline prices on the retail level have moderated considerably in the past week.  A gallon of regular gas costs $3.65 on average nationwide, down from $3.70 last week, $3.88 last month, but still well above the $2.73 drivers paid last year, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report.

In metals, gold was up $2.90, or 0.19%, to $1,542 a troy ounce.  Silver climbed 32 cents, or 0.9%, to $36.07 a troy ounce.

Corporate News

General Electric's (NYSE:GE) aviation division has ordered 60 A320neo jets from Airbus in a deal that is reportedly worth as much as $5.5 billion.

Carpenter Technology (NYSE:CRS) revealed plans to buyout Latrobe Speciality Metals for $388 million.

Ford (NYSE:F) is investing $1 billion in a bid to revitalize its Lincoln brand, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. 

ING Group (NYSE:ING) confirmed a report that it is considering selling its car leasing unit.  A dutch newspaper said the deal could be worth as much as $5.7 billion.

General Electric (NYSE:GE) reached a tentative four-year contract with two key unions that represent roughly 15,000 workers.

Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) shares were under continued selling pressure, shedding 7%, after the BlackBerry-maker posted a weaker-than-expected profit forecast last week.

Foreign Markets

The English FTSE 100 was down 0.8% to 5,693, the French CAC 40 dipped 0.63% to 3,800 and the German DAX slipped 0.19% to 7,150.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 ticked higher by 0.03% to 9,354 and the Chinese Hang Seng fell 0.74% to 21,600.