Stocks Opened Higher on Greek Hopes

U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday on hopes that Greece is heading toward a resolution in the European debt-reduction talks with private creditors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 36.71 points to 12,690.43. The S&P 500 added 3.58 points to 1,316.59. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 7.16 points to 2,819.10.

The hopes came after a large majority of countries in the European Union late Monday agreed to sign a new treaty designed to stop overspending in the eurozone. Greece’s prime minister indicated that progress was being made in his country’s debt negotiations.

U.S. house prices dropped sharply in November to mark the third straight drop, according to a closely followed index released Tuesday. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index dropped 1.3% to take the year-on-year drop to 3.7%.

The Treasury Department is investigating a report that Freddie Mac, the mortgage giant, bet against homeowners’ ability to refinance their loans even as it was making it more difficult for them to do so, Jay Carney, a White House spokesman, said on Monday.

The Chicago PMI for January fell 2 percentage points to 60.2, the Institute for Supply Management said. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected Chicago PMI to fall to 61.5 from 62.2 in December. Although it was the second straight decline, readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Exxon Mobil Corp’s (NYSE:XOM – News) fourth-quarter profit narrowly beat Wall Street’s expectations as rising crude oil prices offset falling margins for chemicals, engine lubricants and fuel. The company posted net income of $9.4 billion, or $1.97 per share, compared with $9.25 billion, or $1.85 per share, in the year-ago period. Total revenue rose 16 percent to $121.61 billion.

Pfizer Inc.’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 50% amid a prior-year tax settlement. The results beat expectations, but the company lowered its per-share earnings estimate for the 2012 year to $2.20 to $2.30 on revenue of $60.5 billion to $62.5 billion, from its prior estimate for $2.25 to $2.35 a share and $62.2 billion to $64.7 billion.

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