Stock and Commodities

21 February, 2012 written by: Analysis team

U.S. stocks ended little changed on Tuesday, paring gains after the Dow topped 13,000 for the first time since May 2008, and as higher oil prices damped prospects for the economy. Greece's securing a bailout to avoid a disorderly default provided some support to stocks, but investors said the news had mostly been priced in to the market. Since the start of the year, signs of improvement in the economy and stabilization of Europe's debt crisis have driven the Dow up 6.1 percent, while the S&P has climbed 8.3 percent. The Dow ended at 12,965 after briefly climbing above the psychologically key 13,000. Wal-Mart was the biggest drag on the Dow, sliding after its quarterly profit came in short of expectations.

Oil closed at nine-month highs on Tuesday and copper notched its biggest gain in six weeks on investor relief that Greece managed to averted a disastrous debt default after months of bitter negotiations. Gold prices also rose as the dollar hit a two-week low versus the euro in response to the euro zone's approval of a second bailout package for Athens. On the agricultural front, raw sugar surged to a three-month peak, underpinned by tight supplies of the sweetener forecast in the near-term. Cocoa and coffee were up too, while corn and wheat fell.


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