Stocks Up on Consumer Spending Surge

Stocks Up on Consumer Spending Surge

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are edging higher in midday Thursday as investors were encouraged by a report showing a strong rise in consumer spending last month. Health care stocks rose sharply after the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act's insurance subsidies. European markets were mostly lower as talks to keep Greece solvent stumbled.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,001 as of 12:05 p.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose five points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,114 and the Nasdaq composite rose 16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,137.

GREEK DOUBT: Crucial talks between Greece and its creditors ended without result early Thursday, casting fresh doubt over the country's future in the euro and piling pressure on negotiators to reach a deal later in the day. After an eight-hour grilling with the leaders of the three main institutions handling his country's debts, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras left talks in Brussels without speaking to reporters. Finance ministers were holding another meeting and would discuss new proposals on the reforms Greece should make to get more loans.

CONSUMER SPENDING: Market sentiment was shored up by evidence that U.S. consumers are confident enough to spend at the highest rate in nearly six years. Consumer spending rose 0.9 percent in May, an indication that solid hiring and cheaper gas are giving a boost to the world's largest economy.

HEALTHY: Health care stocks, especially hospital operators, rose sharply after the Supreme Court upheld the nationwide tax subsidies under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The ruling will preserve health insurance for millions of Americans who are not covered under state-owned exchanges. Humana rose 2 percent, HCA Holdings rose 8 percent, Tenet Healthcare rose 10 percent and Eli Lilly rose 5 percent.

BREAKING UP: IAC/InterActiveCorp rose $3.57, or 5 percent, to $80.83 after the company said it would spin off its Match.com group in to a separately traded company. Match.com includes its namesake website, OKCupid and the mobile dating app Tinder.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery was down 47 cents to $59.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: U.S. government bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.41 percent from 2.37 percent the day before. The euro edged down to $1.1201 and the dollar weakened to 123.64 Japanese yen.

(KA)