July 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose for a third day as investors awaited the start of second-quarter earnings season and euro-area finance ministers met to discuss aid for Greece. European equities recovered from a July 5 slide, while shares and currencies in Asia declined.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.4 percent at 1:32 p.m. in New York and the Russell 2000 Index of smaller U.S. companies jumped 0.3 percent to a record. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 1.4 percent to 292.37 after losing 1.3 percent on July 5, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 1.4 percent. The yield on 10-year Portuguese debt slipped 20 basis points to 6.93 percent. U.S. Treasuries rose after 10-year yields surged to a near two-year high. Egyptian shares tumbled the most in three weeks. Natural gas jumped more than 3 percent to lead commodities higher.
After markets closed in Europe, euro-area finance ministers approved a 3 billion-euro aid payment to Greece, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. U.S. stocks extended gains after European markets closed on July 5 as better-than- estimated jobs data overshadowed concern the Fed will reduce stimulus. Alcoa Inc. will start the second-quarter U.S. earnings season, reporting results after the market closes in New York today.
"The world looks rosy to investors again, after the U.S. market rallied on much better-than-expected employment numbers that investors finally seem to be interpreting as good news," said John Plassard, who helps oversee $28 billion as vice president at Mirabaud Securities LLP in Geneva. "With analysts having downgraded their expectations in recent weeks, we should be seeing fewer negative surprises in the U.S. earnings season, so sentiment is quite good before Alcoa reports numbers."
Global equities lost more than $3.8 trillion in value and U.S. Treasury yields climbed to an almost two-year high since Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled May 22 that the central bank’s asset-buying program could be tapered should the job market continue to improve. The purchases, currently at $85 billion a month, helped the MSCI World Index of developed markets rally 18 percent in the past year.
Trading of S&P 500 stocks was about 6.7 percent below the 30-day average at this time of day and volume for Dow Jones Industrial Average companies was 24 percent below average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Dell Inc. rallied 2.9 percent after the biggest shareholder-advisory firm said investors should accept founder Michael Dell’s buyout offer. Priceline.com added 3 percent after Morgan Stanley raised its recommendation on the stock.
The same equity analysts who lowered second-quarter profit growth predictions to almost nothing in 2013 are raising price forecasts, convinced the economy is growing fast enough to lure more investors and boost valuations.