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US: Stocks edge higher; S&P 500 hits new record


[NEW YORK] US stocks on Tuesday shrugged off the latest stumble in Greek debt talks as the S&P 500 edged to a new closing high.

The S&P 500 gained 3.35 points (0.16 per cent) to 2,100.34, posting the second straight record for the broad-based index.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 28.23 (0.16 per cent) to 18,047.58, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 5.43 (0.11 per cent) at 4,899.27.

US stocks opened lower after the latest round of talks between Greece and the eurozone over restructuring its bailout ended abruptly Monday without agreement.

However, news later that Greece might be amenable to a compromise extension of its current bailout package helped the market rebound.

"The market is for the most part in wait-and-see mode today," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber rose 2.7 per cent as fourth-quarter earnings jumped nine-fold to US$2.1 billion thanks to a one-time US$2.2 billion US tax allowance.

Waste Management advanced 5.2 per cent as fourth-quarter earnings came in at US$590 million, compared with a loss of US$605 million a year ago. The company said the results reflected strong pricing power and the benefits of cost-cutting.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide rose 2.7 per cent on news that Frits van Paasschen resigned as chief executive. The company is seeking a permanent replacement for van Paasschen.

Chesapeake Energy rose 0.9 per cent after it filed suit against the company's former chief executive, Aubrey McClendon, alleging McClendon took proprietary information on oil prospects when he left the company.

McClendon called the suit "baseless" and said he would sue Chesapeake for failure to honor its contractual obligations.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.14 per cent from 2.04 per cent Friday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.73 per cent from 2.65 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.