August 15, 2022

U.S. Markets Rise on Home Price Data

Home prices increased in April in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard Poor’s Case-Shiller index.

In afternoon trading on Tuesday the Dow Jones industrial average was up 118 points, or 1 percent, at 12,161. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 13 points, or 1 percent, at 1,293. The Nasdaq composite index rose 32 points, or 1.2 percent, at 2,721 points.

Global stocks also traded higher as investors awaited a critical Greek parliamentary vote that could go a long way to determining whether the country avoids a default on its debts.

Investors were hoping that Prime Minister George Papandreou of Greece will muster enough votes to get the 28 billion euro ($40 billion) austerity bill through Parliament in a vote Wednesday.

A majority of the 300 deputies must approve the spending cuts and tax increases for the country to get its next batch of bailout funds — worth 12 billion euros — from last year’s 110 billion euro bailout package. But the measures are proving unpopular, and Greek unions began striking Tuesday in the hopes of pressuring lawmakers to vote against the package.

If the package fails, Greece will face a default on its debts even though French banks are planning to accept slower repayment of their holdings of Greek bonds.

“Despite today’s general strike, there still seems to be an optimistic tone that the austerity measures will be passed tomorrow and the bailout can move to the next stage,” said David Jones, chief market strategist at IG Index. “There is still a lot that could go wrong, but with the way markets have performed over the last couple of days, some are hoping that finally sentiment has turned a corner and it is time for a recover.”

A calmer mood over the Greek debt crisis has helped shore up the euro over the past few sessions. It was trading higher Tuesday afternoon, up 0.5 percent to $1.4349.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 0.7 percent to close at 9,648.98 but shares on South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.4 percent to 2,062.91. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.1 percent to 22,061.78. Australia’s S. P./ASX 200 closed 0.3 percent higher at 4,474.30.

Mainland Chinese shares rose too with the Shanghai Composite Index edging up less than 0.1 percent higher to 2,759.20 while the Shenzhen Composite Index gained 0.3 percent to 1,152.00.

Oil prices clawed back some ground lost in the wake of last week’s decision by the International Energy Agency to release 60 million barrels of crude over 30 days. Benchmark oil for August delivery was up $1.05 to $91.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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