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US stocks slightly higher after factory orders rise; oil prices jump on concerns about Iran
NEW YORK (AP) ¯¯¯ Stocks rose Tuesday after the government reported higher factory orders for May. Energy stocks climbed the most after the price of oil jumped to the highest level since May.
The major U.S. stock indexes moved higher. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 48 points to 12,920. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up seven to 1,372. The Nasdaq composite index was up 20 to 2,972.
Trading volume was light, with the market scheduled to close at 1 p.m. and many traders already off for the Fourth of July holiday.
Energy stocks jumped 1.9 percent, more than any of the other nine industry groups in the S&P 500. Benchmark U.S. crude rose $2.97, about 3.5 percent, to $86.72 per barrel in New York because of renewed fears of a military conflict with Iran.
Iran is threatening to block a critical Persian Gulf shipping route in response to a European embargo of Iranian oil. Action by Iran would increase the risk for violence in the region, slowing tanker traffic.
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors all said that auto sales rose in May. Ford stock rose 3 percent, and GM rose 6 percent. Other car companies were reporting sales throughout the day.
Stocks rose broadly at 10 a.m. after the government reported that U.S. factories received more orders in May after two months of declines. On Monday, a trade group said that U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in almost three years.
But mostly, investors were in a holding pattern. They were waiting for the government's report on June employment, which comes out Friday, and corporate earnings for the second quarter, which are reported beginning next week.
Europe was relatively quiet, though with underpinnings of discord. A Greek government spokesman said the government was preparing an "alarming" report on its recession in a bid to renegotiate the terms of its bailout.
Major indexes in France, Britain, Germany, Spain and Greece rose slightly.
The European Central Bank will announce later this week whether it will cut interest rates. That could drive markets higher.
Alcoa, the aluminum company, was up the most of the 30 companies in the Dow, rising about 2 percent. It reports second-quarter earnings Monday, the first Dow stock to report.
Home Depot was down the most, falling more than 2 percent.