NEW YORK Stocks resumed their slow but steady climb Tuesday as Greece appeared close to announcing a deal with creditors to cut its debt. The Dow Jones industrial average ended at its highest level since May 2008.
Stock indexes rose after a report that Greece and the investors who bought its government bonds were close to a deal to reduce what Greece owes. Greeces crushing debt has unnerved financial markets around the world for two years.
Just some kind of optimism overseas is going to be positive, considering many didnt think anything was going to come to fruition, said Stephen J. Carl, head equity trader at The Williams Capital Group.
A report that job openings soared to the highest level in almost three years in December also helped the U.S. market.
The Dow rose 33.07 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 12,878.20. It has not closed higher since May 19, 2008, four months before the financial crisis. The Dow is about a 10 percent rally away from its all-time high.
The average fell 17 points to start the week. On Tuesday, it was down as much as 62 points in the first half-hour of trading.
McDonalds rose 1.4 percent, best among the 30 stocks in the Dow, to $100.91, close to its 52-week high. Coca-Cola rose 0.8 percent after it reported better profits than analysts were expecting.
In other trading, the Standard & Poors 500 gained 2.72 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,347.05. The Nasdaq composite rose 2.09 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,904.08. The Nasdaq is about a point shy of its best close since December 2000.
The jump in U.S. job openings was the latest sign that the job market is improving. The Dow climbed 156 points Friday after the government reported that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in January, the lowest in almost three years.
Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial Group in Westport, Conn., said that while investors are becoming more optimistic about the economy, there are still signs that theyre allocating money cautiously.
The utilities sector was the best performer in the S&P 500, indicating that investors are hanging on to stocks they consider to be relatively safe.