Stocks Break Six Week Loss Streak

U.S. stocks ended moderately higher Friday as hopes for a solution to Greece’s debt problems are helping stocks eke out their first week of gains since April. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average broke a six-week losing streak, ending the five sessions slightly higher. For Friday, the Dow average added 42.84 points, or 0.36%, to 12,004.36. The S&P 500 gained 3.86 points, or 0.30%, to 1,271.50. The Nasdaq Composite ended down 7.22 points, or 0.3%, to 2,616.48. It lost 1.03% for the week.

Germany agreed under pressure from France not to force private investors to take on some of the burden of a new bailout package for Greece. The announcement in Berlin meant Germany was backing away from a sticking point with the European Central Bank on the issue.

The U.S. economy is likely to grow in a “choppy” manner through the summer and autumn, the Conference Board said Friday as it reported that its index of leading economic indicators grew a surprisingly strong 0.8% in May.

A gauge of consumer sentiment fell in early June on a decline in readings of both current conditions and expectations, according to a key survey released Friday. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan gauge fell to 71.8 in early June from 74.3 in May, according to the survey.

The number of people on companies’ payrolls shrank in more than half the U.S. states in May, even though the jobless rates in many places continued to improve, Labor Department data released on Friday showed. The number of employees working for businesses outside of farming decreased in 27 states and Washington, D.C., while it increased in 22 states.

Oil dropped to about $93 per barrel for the first time since February. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery lost $1.94, or 2 percent, to settle at $93.01 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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