Stocks Struggle to Gain

Stocks struggled to turn higher after a weak open on Tuesday buoyed by some positive economic reports and optimism over the Greek deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately was up 2.76 points, or 0.02%, at 12,970.13. The S&P 500 index added 0.95 point, or 0.07%, to 1,407.24. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.58 points, or 0.02%, to 2,977.36.

Home prices posted the biggest percentage gain in more than two years in the third quarter, according to the closely followed S&P/Case-Shiller index. The 3.6% increase from a year earlier is more than three times the rise in the previous quarter and was the biggest jump in prices since the second quarter of 2010.

Bookings for U.S. durable goods leveled off in October, mainly because of slack demand for autos and aircraft and a reversal in defense orders. Yet factoring out the volatile defense and transportation industries, so-called core capital orders jumped 1.7% last month to mark the strongest gain since May, according to Commerce Department data.

President Barack Obama will launch a multipronged push this week to garner support for his proposals to solve U.S. fiscal problems, meeting with business executives at the White House and visiting a small business in Pennsylvania to press his case.

ConAgra Foods (CAG) is buying private-label food producer Ralcorp (RAH) for about $4.95 billion, which will make it the biggest private-label packaged food business in North America. ConAgra Foods Inc. said Tuesday that it will pay Ralcorp Holdings Inc. stockholders $90 per share, a 28 percent premium to its Monday closing price. The combined company will have total sales of about $18 billion annually.

Early success for the iPhone 5 smartphone has helped Apple to overtake Google’s Android software in the United States, research firm Kantar WorldPanel said on Tuesday.

The OECD slashed its global growth forecasts on Tuesday, warning that the debt crisis in the recession-hit euro zone is the greatest threat to the world economy.

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