Stocks edge higher amid optimism on Greek deal

Stocks edged higher Tuesday as investors waited for a deal between Greece and its creditors. Greece faces defaulting on its debt without new loans, but appeared to be moving closer to an agreement to secure new funding.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 24.29 points, or 0.1 percent, to 18,144.07. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 1.35 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,124.20 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.12 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,160.09.

Prepaid debit card company Green Dot was among the biggest gainers. Its stock soared 40 percent after the company announced it had renewed its partnership with Wal-Mart for another five years. Netflix climbed in after-hours trading following the company's announcement that its board had approved a plan to split its stock.

Stocks added to gains from Monday, as reports from Europe suggested that Greece's proposals for budget savings appeared to have won initial approval from the nation's creditors. European finance ministers are scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras still has to sell the proposals to his own political party. His Syriza party was voted into office on a pledge to repeal the harsh budget cuts and tax increases that previous governments had imposed since 2010 in return for loans.

Investors have been following the discussions closely, wary that a Greek default and the nation's potential exit from the euro currency could cause chaos in financial markets.

“We always knew there was going to be a lot of drama with Greece,” said Kristina Hooper, U.S. investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors. “Having said that, if things do take a turn for the worse, the EU is far better equipped to handle this crisis compared to a few years ago.”

In the U.S., investors also remain focused on when the Federal Reserve might increase its key interest rate for the first time in nearly a decade.

Fed Governor Jerome Powell said at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal that he expects the U.S. central bank to begin raising its benchmark interest rate in September, with a second rate rise coming in December.

U.S. government bond prices fell again Tuesday, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note up to 2.41 percent.

Treasuries have been falling sharply in recent weeks as investors anticipate that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for the first time in almost a decade later this year. At the beginning of June, the 10-year note was trading at 2.18 percent.

Netflix stock rose $14, or 2.1 percent, to $695.04 in trading after the close of the market. The internet video company announced that its board had approved a stock split, making the company's shares more affordable. Netflix stockholders will get six additional shares for every share that they own.

In the energy markets, the price of oil rose Tuesday on expectations that gasoline demand is rising, which would in turn boost demand for crude.

Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose 63 cents to close at $61.01 a barrel in New York. The contract for U.S. crude for July delivery expired Monday at $59.68. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.11 to close at $64.45 in London.

In other futures trading on the NYMEX, wholesale gasoline rose 4.7 cents to close at $2.077 a gallon. Heating oil rose 4.2 cents to close at $1.911 a gallon. Natural gas fell 0.7 cents to close at $2.726 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In metals trading, gold fell $7.50 to $1,176.60 an ounce. Silver slipped 41 cents to $15.74 an ounce and copper dropped 4.6 cents to $2.61 a pound.


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