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Equities Market Roundup: Stocks Head into Independence Day with Strong Gains

Wall Street is on pace to trade higher every day of this week as investors prepare for a long weekend for the Fourth of July. Stocks also got a boost from key economic data that showed

Wall Street is on pace to trade higher every day of this week as investors prepare for a long weekend for the Fourth of July. Stocks also got a boost from key economic data that showed manufacturing increased more than expected last month. The report from the Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing activity increased to 55.3 percent in June after falling to 53.5 percent in May. The data suggests a more positive outlook for the economy’s recovery and could mean that the current “soft patch” is only temporary. Thus far, the week has been quite kind for bulls as Greece wrapped up its austerity talks and seems to have stabilized a seemingly deteriorating situation by passing measures to receive its next bailout installment from the EU and IMF. The market’s upward momentum broke a six-week streak of losses, giving investors reasons for optimism as they head into the holiday. However, the elephant in the room remains the U.S. debt ceiling and whether or not Congress is going to do anything about it. The U.S. is expected to exhaust its borrowing limit come August, and if the government fails to raise the $14.3 trillion debt cap, it will be forced to default. The results of a default can be cataclysmic on the financial markets.

Major U.S. Stock Indices

DJIA: 12,547.01 (+1.07 percent)
S&P 500: 1,334.35 (+1.04 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,806.46 (+1.19 percent)
Russell 2000: 837.15 (+1.17 percent)

In other news:

  • Are Friedman and Keynes economic theories are outdated? [Marketwatch]
  • The good news: U.S. sales for GM (GM) and Ford (F) rose 10 percent in June. The bad news: analysts were expecting sales to rise 18 percent for GM and 12 percent for Ford. [Bloomberg]
  • Shares of AMC Networks (AMCX), home of critically acclaimed “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” are tumbling after debuting on the NASDAQ today. Could the flop of “The Killing” be the reason why investors are getting turned off? [NY Times]
  • Farmville-maker Zynga looks to harvest its crops after the company filed for a $1 billion IPO, but could raise the overall offering to $2 billion. The deal would give Zynga, which is profitable, a valuation in the range of $10 billion to $20 billion. [WSJ]
  • Disgraced former IMF chief Dominic Strauss Kahn was released without bail today. [Reuters]

Happy Fourth of July to you and yours!