U.S. stocks rise on financials and energy

Correction appended

on February 16 2010 10:45 AM

U.S. stocks rallied on Monday on gains in the financial and energy sectors, despite the lack of a detailed plan for a Greece bailout from European finance ministers.

Both sectors benefitted from upgrades and Barlcays (NYSE:BCS) leads bank shares as it reported better than expected earnings.

The S&P 500 gained 1.06 percent, or 11.39 points, to trade at 1,086.90 at 10:39 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.96 percent, or 97.27 points, to trade at 10,196.41. March oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were trading at $76.70, up 3.55 percent at 10:49 a.m.

The American Depository Receipts (ADRs) of Barclays (NYSE:BCS) jumped, gaining 10.34 percent. ADRs of Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) followed with a gained of 4.72 percent.

Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB) also gained 4 percent. Its shares benefited from an upgrade to outperform by Credit Suisse. UBS AG (USA) (NYSE:UBS), a Swiss firm, gained 5.18 percent.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) leads big U.S. banks with a gain of 2.14 percent.

Barclays beat analysts' expectations today as its net profit for 2009 more than doubled. The figure was largely helped by the sale of Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which netted the firm more than 6 billion pounds.

Firms involved in commodities are trading up today. Particularly, oil firms are performing well. Analysts from Sanford C. Bernstein upgraded Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) to outperform from market perform. They are up 2.63 percent and 3.04 percent respectively.

Metals stocks also performed well, with Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX) gaining 2.38 percent and Southern Copper (NYSE:PCU) gaining 4.81 percent.

While market participants last week expected the unveiling of the specifics of the Greece bailout plan, European officials merely continued their tough stance on Greece.

They reiterated their expectations that Greece should slash its budget deficit to 8.7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2010, which is a 4 percentage points reduction from the 12.7 percent 2009 figure.

By 2012, they expect Greece slash its budget deficit below the permitted European Union ceiling, which is 3 percent of GDP.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the Eurogroup chief from Luxembourg, warned that if Greece's debt reduction plans are not on target by March 16, additional measures may need to be considered.

In protest of the austerity measures, Greek customs officials began a 3-day strike today. The spread between the yield of Greek and German sovereign debt widened modestly today.

Although most ADRs of European financial firms are trading higher, those of the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) lost 4.35 percent.

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Last updated 10:56a.m. EST

Correction: A statement on the Greece-Europe debt yield spread incorrectly attributed widening to Monday. The spread widened modestly on Tuesday.

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