By STEVE ROTHWELL, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks gained early Tuesday, led by financial companies, in quiet trading ahead of the July 4th holiday in the U.S. Ford got a boost after reporting its best June for auto sales since 2006.
U.S. stocks have recovered from a slump last month after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was considering cutting back on its stimulus later this year, if the economy continues to improve. The central bank is buying $85 billion a month in bonds to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing.
The Dow Jones rose 52 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,030 as of 10:14 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained four points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,619. The Nasdaq composite added 11 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,445.
As well as watching for clues of when the Fed will start to ease its stimulus and ultimately start to raise rates investors will this month turn their focus back to corporate earnings.
"We're in the middle of a transition," said Chris Wolfe, chief investment officer, at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group. "You would expect to see over the balance of this year and going into next year, somewhat stronger macro economic data that translates directly into stronger corporate revenue growth."
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.49 percent from 2.48 percent on Monday.
In commodities trading the price of oil rose 85 cents, or 0.9 percent, $98.85 a barrel. Gold fell $3.80, or 0.3 percent, to $1,251.90 an ounce. The dollar against the euro and the Japanese yen.
Among stocks making big moves: — Zynga jumped 32 cents, or 10 percent, after the troubled maker of "FarmVille" and other online games said its CEO Mark Pincus would step aside. The company's stock is down almost 70 percent since its 2011 initial public offering at $10 per share.
— Achillion Pharmaceuticals fell $1.92, or 22.6 percent, to $6.46 after the drug developer said federal regulators Monday placed a hold on an early-stage study of a drug combination involving its potential hepatitis C treatment.
— DaVita HealthCare Partners fell $7.14, or 5.9 percent, to $113.90, after the government proposed cutting the rates of Medicare payments to dialysis service providers.
— Ford rose 29 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $16.03 and General Motors rose 86 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $34.86. Ford reported that its vehicle sales jumped 13 percent last month compared with a year ago. GM reports sales later in the morning.
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