(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended sharply higher after readings on inflation and jobless claims led to optimism that Federal Reserve will act to stimulate the economy. Investors weighed second round of elections in Greece on Sunday and the Fed's policy meeting next week.
S&P 500 Index gained 1.08 percent to end at 1,329.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.24 percent to finish at 12,651.76. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.63 percent to close at 2,836.33.
On the US economic front, the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, a government data showed. Jobless claims increased 6,000 to 386,000 for the week ended June 9 from a revised 380,000, while economists projected 375,000 applications.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Labor Department said the consumer price index declined 0.3 percent in May, more than expectations of a 0.2 percent drop. Core inflation held steady at 0.2 percent. In April, consumer prices held steady but core consumer prices advanced 0.2 percent.
In other European news, yields on 10-year Spanish bonds hit a record high of 7 percent following a downgrade of the nation's government debt rating by Moody's to just above junk status. Italy's three-year borrowing costs too climbed to 5.30 percent in an auction.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: NOK, EW, QSFT, AOL, SFD, KR, DDD
In corporate news, Nokia Corp. (NYSE:NOK) plunged 15.77 percent after the Finland-based cellphone maker announced plans to shed an additional 10,000 jobs worldwide in a move to reduce costs. The company also warned of a larger-than-forecast loss from its smartphones business in the second quarter.
Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE:EW) jumped as much as 9.2 percent after the Irvine, California-based company received a positive FDA panel recommendation on Sapien transcatheter heart valve (THV) for use in high risk surgical patients.
Quest Software Inc. (NASDAQ:QSFT) rallied 9.22 percent after the IT solutions company received a new proposal from an unnamed strategic bidder at $25.50 a share, topping an earlier offer of $23 a share by a private investment firm.
AOL Inc. (NYSE:AOL) dropped 5.65 percent. The Web services company's board was re-elected by shareholders, defeating attempts by activist hedge fund Starboard Value for a shakeup. Reuters reported that Starboard may dump its 5.3 percent stake in AOL.
Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE:SFD) retreated 5.67 percent after the meat processor reported quarterly earnings that trailed market expectations amid drop in operating margins.
Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) advanced 6.06 percent after the grocery retailer raised its earnings guidance for the full year and announced $1 billion share buyback plan.
3D Systems Corp. (NYSE:DDD) fell 2.64 percent after the provider of three-dimensional (3D) printers said it is offering to sell 3.7 million shares in an underwritten public offering at $27.00 apiece, a 9 percent discount to the stock's previous close.
European markets ended mixed, with Germany's DAX dipping 0.23 percent to close at 6,138.61. France's CAC40 inched up 0.08 percent to finish at 3,032.45. U.K.'s FTSE 100 fell 0.31 percent to end at 5,467.05.
Asian markets ended lower tracking global cues, the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.98 percent to end at 2,296.30. Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 1.15 percent to close at 18,808.40. Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 0.22 percent to close at 8,568.89. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,677.88, down 1.20 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures jumped 1.84 percent to $84.140 per barrel and natural gas futures rallied 15.15 percent to $2.516 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures added 0.33 percent to $1,624.7 per ounce, while silver futures tumbled 1.01 percent to $28.65 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro gained 0.49 percent against the U.S. dollar to $1.2618. The British pound advanced 0.29 percent against the greenback to 1.5550, and the dollar shed 0.18 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.3500.