Wall St. Slide Ends, Concerns About Iraq Remain

Wall St. Slide Ends, Concerns About Iraq Remain

US stocks climbed this afternoon, with the S&P 500 paring a weekly decline, as a rally in Intel and corporate deals overshadowed concern that violence in Iraq will disrupt oil supplies



Wall St. Slide Ends, Concerns About Iraq Remain
Wall St. Slide Ends, Concerns About Iraq Remain

This reversed losses this morning as concerns escalated about Iraq and after disappointing economic data on retail sales and jobless claims.  The S&P 500  rose 0.3% to 1,935.60 at 2:00 PM in New York, headed for its first gain in four days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 34.33 points, or 0.2%, to 16,768.52. Trading in S&P 500 shares was 6% below the 30-day average at this time of day.

Hours after ethnic Kurdish forces took control of the oil hub of Kirkuk after the Shi'ite-led government's troops abandoned their posts, President Barack Obama was asked if he might order drone strikes or other action to halt the insurgency that has seized much of northern Iraq this week.

Obama told reporters that he refused to rule out US action in Iraq against Sunni Islamist militants who have surged out of the north toward Baghdad, threatening to divide the country and establish their own jihadist state. The stock market's losses quickly accelerated following Obama's comments, with industrials and consumer discretionary sectors leading the decline.

The Fed is watching the labor market as it moves to complete a monthly stimulus program late this year. Policy makers meet next week, with a decision on rates and bond buying due June 18. The stimulus has helped propel the S&P 500 higher by as much as 188% from its bear-market low in March 2009. Meanwhile the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index slid 4.8% to 11.96. The gauge, known as the VIX, has jumped 11% this week. 


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