(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) U.S. equity markets were higher overnight despite a downgrade to Spanish debt and on hopes that China will move to support its economy.
By the close the Dow Jones had rallied 126 points to 12,581, while the NASDAQ jumped 33 points to 2871.
Spain's credit rating has been cut further by U.S. ratings agency Egan-Jones, the third time Egan-Jones cut the nation's rating since April. The latest downgrade pushed the credit rating on the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone down to B from BB-.
Investors are now concerned that the three main credit-rating agencies - Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch - could follow, which would further increase the long-term borrowing costs for the Spanish government.
Investors have also been fearful that the slowing of China's economy could cause a so-called "hard landing" for the world's No. 2 economy. But there is speculation Beijing will announce more stimulus spending in China, including a program to spur auto purchases.
In corporate news, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is in talks to buy Norway's Opera Software, according to a press report. Opera is the maker of a popular web browser, but is said to be in Facebook's sights because of its advanced mobile phone software technology.
Facebook shares fell to a new low, increasing losses from the worst-performing large initial public offering during the past decade to more than 20 percent.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) private-equity unit and P2 Capital Partners agreed to buy Interline Brands Inc. (NYSE:IBI), a distributor of janitorial, plumbing and lighting products that went public in 2004, in a deal valued at 1.1 billion including debt.
The U.S. Justice Department is said to be investigating whether BP (NYSE:BP) officials lied to Congress about the quantity of oil leaking following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident.
Officials are also looking into the possibility that engineers involved in efforts to plug the leak attempted to withhold data from the government.
Global package delivery giant FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) agreed to buy transport and logistics company Rapidao Cometa as it strengthens its toehold in Latin America.
The deal, which includes 9,000 employees and 45 branches and 770 vehicles and trailers, will further enhance FedEx's international and Brazil business offerings.
Trustmark Corp. (NASDAQ:TRMK) agreed to merge with BancTrust Financial Group (NASDAQ:BTFG) Tuesday in a 55.4 million deal, as it seeks to deepen its hold in Alabama and Florida.
On the economic front, home values in 20 U.S. cities fell in the 12 months that ended March at the slowest pace in more than a year as lower borrowing costs and an improving job market gave sales a boost.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values fell 2.6 percent from a year earlier after a 3.5 percent drop in February, the group reported today in New York.
Also, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index for May decreased to 64.9 from a revised 68.7 in April, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today.
The report also revealed that the percent of respondents expecting fewer jobs in the next six months increased to 21, a six-month high.
The proportion projecting their incomes will rise over the next six months advanced to 15.2 percent from 13.9 percent. Even with the gain, income expectations are down from the end of 2011.
On the NYMEX, crude futures for July delivery fell 20 cents, or 0.2%, to 90.66 a barrel while gold futures for August delivery fell 20.20, or 1.3%, to settle at 1,551 an ounce.
European stocks closed higher with the FTSE 100 gaining 0.6%, the DAX adding 1.2% and the CAC 40 climbing 1.3%.