U.S. Stocks Rally on Greece Optimism

Microsoft, Intuitive Surgical among the biggest winners on the IW 50.

U.S. stocks rallied on Monday as investors welcomed encouraging news from Europe on progress toward staving off a potentially destabilizing default by Athens.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108.98 points (0.91%) to close at 12,043.56.

The broader S&P 500 climbed 11.65 points (0.92%) to 1,280.10, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 35.29 points (1.33%) to close at 2,688.28.

The gains came amid reports that banks and EU officials were moving closer to a plan in which the banks would roll over half the money received from Greek debt into new 30-year bonds, giving Athens some breathing room to resolve its fiscal crisis.

Investors have been closely watching events in Athens, where the parliament is set to vote later this week on an unpopular package of austerity cuts demanded by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

"Given the upcoming news from Greece and probably some news on the debt conversation in Washington, people are speculating that the outcome is going to be positive on both," said Michael James of Wedbush Morgan Securities.

In Washington, President Barack Obama became directly involved for the first time in talks between Democrats and Republicans on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, which must be resolved to avoid a U.S. government default by Aug. 2.

Microsoft Rumors Buoy Stock

Among companies on IndustryWeek's 2010 50 Best Manufacturing Companies list, Microsoft Corp. (No. 6 on the IW 50) was the biggest winner.

Shares of Microsoft surged 3.7% amid rumors that the software giant would release its next version of the Windows operating system earlier than expected, in April 2012.

Shares of Herman Miller Inc. (No. 11 on the IW 50) were up 2.95% to $27.24, after the Zeeland, Mich.-based office-furniture manufacturer last week reported a fourth-fiscal-quarter profit of $17.1 million, or 30 cents a share, beating analyst estimates.

Intuitive Surgical Inc. (No. 37) also had a strong day. Shares of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based manufacturer of equipment for robotically assisted surgery rose $9.23 to $356.63, a 2.66% gain.

Financial stocks, which have been battered by fears of fallout from the Greek debt crisis, were among the biggest winners on Monday, with Bank of America gaining 3.1% and American Express rising 2.5%.

Meanwhile, investors shrugged off Commerce Department data showing that consumer spending in May was virtually unchanged from April, underscoring the continued weakness of the world's largest economy.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 2.93% from 2.87% on Friday, while that on the 30-year bond climbed to 4.28% from 4.17%. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

IndustryWeek senior editor Josh Cable contributed to this story.

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