U.S. stocks end the day higher after a choppy session as Greece gets closer to a debt default. Shartia Brantley reports.
U.S. stocks ended the day higher, after a choppy session, as investors grew nervous over the prospects of a bailout deal for Greece. German Chancellor Angela Merkel dashed hopes of a last-minute deal, when she said she expected no new developments. Consumer confidence rose solidly this month. And the S&P/Case Shiller index showed home prices rose in April but at a slower rate than forecast. S&P's David Blitzer SOUNDBITE: DAVID BLITZER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, S&P DOW JONES INDICES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Home prices are still rising but at slightly more moderate pace than they were last month. We're seeing home prices sort of easing into a more stable situation." ConAgra Foods is getting out of the private label food business. The move comes after activist hedge fund, Jana Partners, bought a stake in the food maker this month. Shares rose. Also up: Pentair. The Wall Street Journal reports activist investor Trian Fund Management is asking the pump and valve maker to consider acquiring its rivals to consolidate the sector. On the downside: shares of human resources consultancy Towers Watson fell after it agreed to merge with insurance broker Willis Group in an $18 billion deal. Sony shares fell. The electronics company plans to issue new shares and bonds so it can invest in image sensors. It's hoping to reinvent itself from a manufacturer of consumer products to a maker of niche components. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sony plans to launch a crowdfunding site to seek support for its employees' business ideas. Apollo Education's shares dropped steeply. Enrollment fell again at its flagship college, the University of Phoenix. Quarterly profit fell and missed analysts' expectations. In Europe, earlier hopes that Greece would accept the EU's last-ditch aid proposal helped stocks stabilize after Monday's steep selloff. Still, the major indices finished in the red.