US STOCKS-Wall St climbs after news of draft debt deal for Greece

by Reuters
Friday, 20 February 2015 19:00 GMT

* Intuit rises after results

* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday after euro zone finance ministers and Greece drafted an agreement that may form the basis for a financial rescue package for Greece.

The news buoyed all three major U.S. indexes, and helped the S&P 500 and Dow to rebound into positive territory. With the advance, Nasdaq was set for its eighth session of gains as it approached its March 2000 all-time high.

Investors have been waiting for signs of progress in negotiations over the Greece debt situation, and the uncertainty has triggered caution among market participants. Officials stressed that there was still no formal agreement in the full meeting of the Eurogroup of 19 finance ministers.

"Everyone is just waiting for whether there is a deal or no deal. Obviously with situations like this, there are all types of leaks, and both sides try to get a certain message out there. You have to be cautious," said Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Shares of the Global X FTSE Greece 20 exchange-traded fund jumped 10.3 percent, while U.S.-listed shares of the National Bank of Greece were up 20.5 percent at $1.94.

At 1:29 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 71.04 points, or 0.39 percent, to 18,056.81, the S&P 500 gained 3.57 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,101.02 and the Nasdaq Composite added 12.61 points, or 0.26 percent, to 4,937.31.

Intuit Inc was among the Nasdaq's biggest positives, rising 5.5 percent to $96.16 a day after reporting a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 1,852 to 1,167, for a 1.59-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,343 issues fell and 1,304 advanced for a 1.03-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 46 new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 81 new highs and 17 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.