- Associated Press - Friday, June 15, 2012

NEW YORK — Expectations that the central banks of countries around the world stand ready to head off a deeper European debt crisis helped push U.S. stocks higher on Friday.

The European Central Bank president said his institution would continue its “crucial role” of making sure the financial system has enough cash.

Mario Draghi’s comment wouldn’t normally arouse much interest, but it followed a report Thursday from Reuters that the ECB, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England and other global financial authorities were ready to act in concert to stem any fallout from elections in Greece this weekend.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91 points to 12,743 as of 2:45 p.m. Eastern. Microsoft was the Dow’s leading stock. It rose 2 percent following reports that the company is in talks to buy Yammer, a developer of social networks within companies. Microsoft gained 61 cents to $29.96.

An election in Greece Sunday could determine whether the country remains in a union of 17 countries that use the euro. Analysts are concerned about what will happen if a party opposed to the terms of a financial bailout Greece got in February. If Greece leaves the union and stops using the euro as its currency, many fear it could imperil Spain, Italy and other countries and further weaken the region’s hobbled banks.

“There’s a growing sense of optimism,” said Peter Tuz, a money manager, at Chase Investment Counsel, which runs mutual funds. “The betting now is that the ‘let’s stay in the euro’ segment of the population (in Greece) will win.” Investors are also reassured by reports that central banks have drawn up contingency plans in case a Greek exit from the euro becomes likely.

A pair of weak economic reports helped push Treasury prices up and yields down. A report on U.S. factory production showed a drop in manufacturing, a key driver of economic growth. A gauge of manufacturing in New York sank to its lowest level since November.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.58 percent from 1.64 percent late Thursday. Traders have been shifting money into the safekeeping of the Treasury market ahead of the Greek elections. That higher demand has kept yield near all-time lows.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained nine points to 1,338. The Nasdaq composite gained 26 points to 2,862.

All 10 industry groups within the S&P 500 rose. The index, widely used by money managers as a benchmark, is up 1 percent for the week and on track for its second straight week of gains.

Among stocks making big moves:

• YPF, Argentina’s state-controlled oil and gas producer, jumped 11 percent after Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim said he had acquired an 8.4 percent stake in the company. The stock has lost nearly half its value since Argentina’s center-left government seized a majority stake in YPF from Spain’s Repsol two months ago. The stock rose $1.21 to $11.66.

• Capital One Financial rose 1 percent after the company said uncollectable and delinquent loans at its credit card business dropped last month. Capital One’s stock gained 88 cents to $53.89.

• Defense contractor AAR plunged 79 cents to $10.78, a loss of 7 percent. The company released new forecasts for fourth-quarter and fiscal-year earnings that were weaker than Wall Street analysts were expecting.

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