by Marc Bastow | June 5, 2012 4:59 pm
U.S. stocks muddled around early Tuesday after Spain’s Treasury Minister said the country’s credit markets are frozen, and Standard & Poor’s issued a report saying there is a 1-in-3 chance Greece will leave the euro currency union in the months ahead.
However, a better-than-expected reading of the ISM Services index gave markets a lift from their doldrums. The Nasdaq gained 0.66% to finish at 2,778, the S&P 500 climbed 0.52% to 1,285, and the Dow clawed out 0.22% gains to close the day at 12,128.
The ISM index for May rose to 53.7, surprising economists who had forecast the index would fall to 53.1 from April’s 53.5. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the service sector, which makes up the majority of the U.S. economy.
Financial stocks were the biggest gainers Tuesday, as shares of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) all jumped more than 3%, and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) wasn’t far behind, up 2%.
On the earnings front, Dollar General (NYSE:DG) reported a record-breaking first quarter Monday, with net revenues increasing 13% to $3.9 billion, and profits surging 36% to $213.4 million, or 63 cents per share. Despite the good news, shares dipped 3.5% on the day. Sectormates Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO) and Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) also fell marginally.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) continued to weaken, touching a new low of $25.75 before settling at $25.87 per share — a 3% drop on the day. Kellogg (NYSE:K) also touched a new annual low of $47.88 today before finishing fractionally down.
And last but not least, in the “Seriously?” category, Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE) will change its name to Hillshire Brands Co. as it splits off its European-based coffee and tea beverage business and try to jump-start its packaged meats profile. Starting sometime later this year look for Hillshire Farms coffee cakes, not Sara Lee.
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