by Marc Bastow | June 12, 2012 5:24 pm
Solar stocks paved the way to a strong market day Tuesday after a First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) deal sparked the industry.
First Solar landed a project for Australia’s Solar Flagships Program to design, to construct and maintain two utility-scale solar photovoltaic power projects totaling 159 megawatts AC for AGL Energy Limited. FSLR jumped more than 21% on the news and had the rest of the sector booming. Other solar names headed higher were LDK Solar (NYSE:LDK, +17%), SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR, +8.8%) and Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL, +8.3%).
U.S. stock markets shook off worries about the European banking system, sending the indices to a sigh-of-relief rally to more than 1% across the board. The Dow Jones finished up 1.3% to 12,573, the Nasdaq gained 1.22% to end at 2,843, and the S&P 500 ended ahead 1.2% at 1,324.
Europe continues to be a background worry, however, with yields on 10-year Spanish bonds hitting a euro-era high of 6.8%, and Italian bond yields also above the 6% benchmark — a warning sign that the country could need a bailout of its own. Adding to pressures on Spain’s banking system, Fitch Ratings downgraded 18 Spanish banks.
However, U.S. banking stocks showed plenty of strength Tuesday, as Citigroup (NYSE:C) rebounded nicely from Monday’s losses with a 4.3% gain, and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) each finished up nearly 3%.
Shares of high-end retailer Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) shot up more than 7% after the fashion retailer reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales that more than doubled from last year’s results. The report easily topped forecasts as well as the company’s earlier guidance.
Performance retailer Under Armour (NYSE:UA) also continued its recent rise, finishing the day up more than 3% as BofA raised its price target to (a pre-split) $120 per share.
Juniper Networks (NYSE:JNPR) shares gained about 1% after the company announced a $1 billion share repurchase plan late Monday. Storage hardware maker Fusion-io (NYSE:FIO) gained more than 5% Tuesday and helped Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) break out of a long funk with its own 2% move on news of a new contract. FIO’s memory systems will be used in Cisco’s B-series blade servers.
On the other end of the spectrum, shares of Internet game stock Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) continued their 60% slide since March, touching all-time intraday lows of $4.78 before finishing the day around 10% to $4.97.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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