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U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, extending gains into a third day, as investors applauded a Bank of America settlement with mortgage holders and Greece finally voted to approve austerity measures. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 23 points to 12,212. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 4 points to 1,300. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained a point to 2,730. Bank of America is up 3% even though they will be paying out $8.3 billion for mortgage back securities settlement. The big relief so far is Bank of America will not have to raise more capital. The insurance stocks like MetLife and Prudential are trading higher as they will receive money from the settlement. Citigroup is up 1.5% on an upgrade. Goldman Sachs is higher after making a new 52 week low yesterday. KB Homes is down 2% after reporting a quarterly loss. The commodities continue to perform well. Virtually all commodities are up. U.S. Steel is jumping 5% on an upgrade. Rowan was downgraded, but the stock is higher. Monsanto is up 3% following better than expected earnings. Monsanto's earnings are helping the fertilizer stocks. The techs after a big run up yesterday are quiet this morning. Through the first hour a modest pull back brought the bulls back in. After the first hour the averages were solidly in the green thanks to the financials and commodities. Through the morning the averages improved with the Dow rising 70 points. The Nasdaq is up only 13 points. Its' been a good week, although some of this rally is window dressing into the quarter end tomorrow. Heading into the last hour the averages gave up a big chunk of their gains only to rebound in the last hour. The credit card companies Visa and MasterCard jumped significantly in the last hour on news from the Fed regarding a hike in debit card fees below expectations. Ebay is also jumping due to the fact they still own the Internet company PayPal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 72 points at 12,261. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index climbed 10 points to 1,307. The Nasdaq Composite gained 11 points to 2,740.
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