March 8, 2012
Optimism over the potential for a favorable resolution to the Greek debt crisis helped make investors feel more confident about stocks. Despite a small uptick in unemployment claims, the stock market advanced solidly, with the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) up 69 points to 12,907 just before 1:45 p.m. EST. The S&P 500 gained 12 points to 1,365.
Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) rose 1.6% as technology stocks generally had good performance. The company responded to favorable comments that fellow communications equipment maker Ciena made in its earnings report yesterday. Although Ciena missed estimates, its stock rose on hopes that the company would see better strength in the second half of this year. The positive comment Ciena made about the business in general applies just as much if not more so to Cisco.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) jumped about 1%. The health-care giant said its prostate cancer drug Zytiga improved survival rates and delayed progression of the diseases in patients who didn't get chemotherapy treatments. The news hammered shares of Dendreon (Nasdaq: DNDN ) , whose rival Provenge prostate-cancer drug stands to lose sales if viable competition heats up.
Lastly, Disney (NYSE: DIS ) rose almost 1% despite some concerns from shareholders about CEO Robert Iger also taking on the role of board chairman. The state treasurer of Connecticut had tried to mobilize shareholders to vote against re-electing directors on the company's governance committee, arguing that having different people in the CEO and board chairman roles was better for the business. But Disney downplayed the concerns, saying that nine of the board's 10 directors will be independent.
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