US stocks waver ahead of emergency Europe meeting

Associated Press + More

By CHRISTINA REXRODE, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks struggled for direction early Tuesday, opening lower but rising within the first 30 minutes of trading.

Investors were cheered by a report that the U.S. service industry, which includes companies like retail stores and restaurants, grew slightly faster than predicted in May.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down as much as 29 points but bounced back after the report was released at 10 a.m. EDT by the Institute for Supply Management.

About an hour into trading, the Dow was up 28 points to 12,130. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up five to 1,283, and the Nasdaq composite index was up 12 to 2,772.

Debt problems in Europe, which have sent the market to steep losses over the past few weeks, including a 275-point plunge in the Dow on Friday, weren't far from anybody's mind on Wall Street.

Finance chiefs from the world's seven wealthiest nations held an emergency meeting by telephone to talk about the spiraling crisis.

The German finance minister said he would oppose watering down the budget cuts that stronger countries like Germany want to impose on weaker countries like Greece.

The Spanish finance minister said that the amount of money that would be needed to prop up the nation's banking sector was not excessively high. Greece's central bank governor said that Cyprus was struggling to find about $2 billion to inject into its second-largest bank.

European markets were mixed. Stocks in Greece were down almost 5 percent. Stocks in Germany were flat, and stocks mostly rose in France and Spain.

In the United States, Chesapeake Energy rose 2 percent a day after activist investor Carl Icahn engineered a shakeup on the board of directors.

JCPenney fell 2 percent ahead of a talk by CEO Ron Johnson — his first public comments since the company reported a sharp drop in sales after Johnson engineered a plan to change its discounting and stop issuing coupons.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.