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US Stocks Pare Gains After 'Credit Event' Ruling On Greek Debt

--Stocks pare gains after ruling that Greek debt swap constitutes default --Market supported by upbeat jobs data --Trade deficit widened to 3-year record on declining exports to China, Europe By Christian Berthelsen and Chris Dieterich Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- U.S. stocks pared gains in afternoon trading after a financial industry group ruled that Greece's debt restructuring constituted a "credit event," which will likely trigger a series of payouts between buyers and sellers of credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt. The afternoon drop erased some of the market's gains from earlier in the day, after upbeat news on jobs and the Greek debt restructuring. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 22 points, or 0.2%, to 12930, in late afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index was up 5.5 points, or 0.4%, to 1371, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 17 points, or 0.7%, to 2988. All 10 of the S&P's sectors were higher, led by financial and consumer-discretionary shares. J.P. Morgan Chase led blue chips higher, rising 2.2%. "From a sentiment standpoint, this is buy the rumor, sell the news. We've had anticipation all week on the Greek vote as well as the nonfarm payrolls numbers," said Phil Orlando, equity strategist at Federated Investors. "To some degree, the strength we've seen over the past few days seems to have priced in some of the news, and that's why we're not seeing an explosive move today." The Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls rose more than expected in February, but the increase was less than last month's rise. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3%. "By any stretch, this is an encouraging report," said Anthony Chan, chief economist with J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Management. "Lots of jobs creation, with upward revisions in the prior months, and I'm encouraged by the fact that more people are joining the labor force and the unemployment rate is not going up." Also, data showed wholesale inventories increased in January, an indication that companies anticipate increased demand for products. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast a 0.6% increase. Still, stock gains were tempered by downbeat news on the U.S. trade deficit, which widened in January to its highest level in more than three years because of plunging exports to China and the euro zone. European markets edged mostly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 closing 0.5% higher after Greece secured enough debt-swap commitments from private creditors to restructure its debt and receive bailout funds. Asian bourses were broadly higher on the back of U.S. gains and optimism toward Greece, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rising 1.7% to close at its highest level in seven months. China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.8%. Crude-oil prices settled 0.8% higher at $107.40 a barrel, while gold prices settled up 0.8% at $1,710.90 a troy ounce. The dollar gained ground against the euro and yen. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.037%. In corporate news, Starbucks introduced its first at-home, single-cup coffee-making machine, named the Verismo system, that makes espresso beverages and brewed coffee. The new system will compete with the Keurig brewer made by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Green Mountain Coffee slumped 15%, while Starbucks rose 2.9%. Shares of the women's apparel retailer that operate Ann Taylor stores, Ann, rose 6.9% after per-share earnings slightly beat estimates, even as fourth-quarter earnings fell 73%. Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. shares shot up 22% after the gun maker swung to a fiscal third-quarter profit on improved sales volume and lower operating expenses. Texas Instruments lowered its expected ranges for revenue and earnings for the current quarter, citing lower demand for wireless products. The semiconductor maker fell 1.1%. Also in the chip industry, Altera indicated that the revenue outlook for the current quarter had weakened, citing continued softness in sales to wireless customers and timing issues in the military market. Shares rose 1.5%. Molycorp said it agreed to buy Canadian rare-earth mining company Neo Material Technologies to gain greater exposure to China. Molycorp advanced 15%.

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