Stocks headed for a third straight day of gains on Tuesday as investors drew cheer from more mergers and acquisitions and signs of progress in securing European financial backing for Greece.
Tuesday's advance briefly pushed the Dow index into positive territory for 2010, a day after both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes moved above the break-even mark for the year.
A day after American Insurance Group
More deal making is a sign that the financials markets are normalizing and the economy improving.
When you see M&A activity it's an indication that market participants see value out there, said Jim Maguire Jr., a trader at EH Smith Jacobs, in New York. The very fact that we are talking about M&A these days, I think, is a huge positive for the market.
Greece's borrowing costs fell to their lowest level in weeks as its government is expected to announce new austerity measures to win European debt guarantees for the cash-strapped European Union member.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 32.04 points, or 0.31 percent, to 10,435.83. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> added 6.54 points, or 0.59 percent, to 1,122.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 15.92 points, or 0.70 percent, to 2,289.49.
The S&P 500 has risen for 8 of the last 11 trading days. The benchmark index is now off 2.4 percent from a 15-month closing high reached on January 19 after falling more than 8 percent through February 8.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index <.VIX>, Wall Street's favorite measure of investor anxiety, fell more than 3 percent to 18.64.
CF Industries Holdings
Dow Chemical Co
Ford Motor Co
General Motors Co
On the Nasdaq, technology bellwether Qualcomm Inc
Shares of Sequenom Inc
UBS raised its 2010 estimate for global semiconductor company revenue growth, saying the first quarter appeared to be tracking ahead of seasonal trends, with strong personal computer sales that should continue to support demand for DRAM microchips.
The PHLX Semiconductor index <.SOXX> rose 0.8 percent.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)