Stocks rise early after Greek deal, then drop back

NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. stocks opened higher Thursday after Greek leaders agreed to cost-cutting measures that should prevent the country from defaulting on its debt next month. Stocks fell later in the morning.

The Dow Jones industrial average pushed to within 75 points of 13,000 but was down 24 points at 12,860 after an hour of trading. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down four points at 1,345. The Nasdaq composite index was down nine at 2,906.

The deal in Greece calls for steep cuts in government jobs and spending, one of two steps for Greece to lock down a crucial ?130 billion bailout from other countries and avoid the default, which could shock the world financial system.

Greece is close to the second step, an agreement with the private investors who hold two-thirds of its government debt. That agreement would sharply reduce what Greece owes.

The euro rose half a cent against the dollar to $1.33. Bond prices fell slightly. The yield on the U.S. government’s benchmark 10-year note rose to 2.05 percent from 1.99 percent Wednesday, then dropped back to 2.03 percent.

The Dow has gained 5 percent in the young year. Its last close above 13,000 was May 19, 2008, four months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank and the worst of the financial crisis.

Stocks were also helped Thursday by U.S. jobs data. The number of people seeking unemployment assistance fell to its lowest level since April 2008.

The stock of Diamond Foods, maker of Emerald Nuts and Pop Secret popcorn, plunged 35 percent in early trading. The company announced late Wednesday that it was ousting its top two executives amid allegations of improper accounting.

Groupon, the daily deal website, fell 10 percent after it announced a surprising quarterly loss in its first earnings report as a public company.

Dunkin’ Brands, the parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, fell 2 percent despite beating analysts’ expectations for revenue and meeting expectations for per-share earnings. Dunkin’ went public last summer.

In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Nigel Travis said the Greek deal was positive because it will improve people’s perception of the economy, and “if people feel good about the world, they’ll be more willing to spend.”

“I think it’s good news,” Travis said. “Whether it actually solves the euro problem you have to question.”

But Travis said that the Greek deal wasn’t at the forefront of his franchisees’ minds: They’re more interested in the U.S. presidential election and getting clarity on small-business loans and whether a cut in the Social Security payroll tax will be extended.