US stocks fall amid Greece and oil drags - New York Report

US STOCKS closed higher yesterday but were down from earlier highs as energy stocks declined and Greece’s debt crisis showed no clear signs of resolution.

The benchmark S&P 500’s energy sector was dragged down by the biggest slide in oil prices since April after traders were surprised by a report that showed US crude stockpiles rose for the first time in more than two months.

Eurozone central bank chiefs kept in place their cap on a funding lifeline to Greece, maintaining pressure as Greece’s lenders run out of cash. The country’s banks have been shut since Monday ahead of a Sunday referendum on the bailout package offered by its international lenders last week.

Many investors were also holding off ahead of today’s scheduled release of the closely-watched US non-farm payroll report for June, while the three-day weekend celebrating the US July Fourth holiday kept others away, said Brian Fenske, head of sales trading at ITG in New York.

While the market was primarily driven by Greece’s woes, stronger-than-expected jobs and construction data gave stocks some support, as did Swiss insurance giant ACE’s $28bn offer for upmarket property insurer Chubb.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 138.4 points, or 0.79 per cent, to 17,757.91, the S&P 500 gained 14.31 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 2,077.42, and the Nasdaq Composite added 26.26 points, or 0.53 per cent, to 5,013.12.

About 6.4bn shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges.