Dow closes 125 points up, only its fifth gain in May

The stock market is desperately looking for good news.

On Tuesday, oil prices fell, the euro sank to a 22-month low, and the yield on the U.S. government’s 10-year Treasury note fell near a historic low after a report suggested that Spain will have more trouble repaying its debts.

But stocks rose anyway. In fact, they had one of their best days in an otherwise dreary month. Investors focused on hopes that China is poised to rev up its economic growth machine and that upcoming elections in Greece will help the country stay in the euro.

“The overriding news isn’t that great,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at investment advisors Banyan Partners. “But Greece and China are taking the pressure off the market in the short term.”

Gains in industrial stocks that depend heavily on the Chinese economy, like Caterpillar and Alcoa, helped push the Dow Jones industrial average up 125.86 points. The Dow closed at 12,580.69, up 1 percent.

It was only the fifth gain for the Dow in May. The index is down 4.8 percent for May and is headed for its first monthly loss since September.

Facebook plunged 10 percent to $28.84, shaving $25 billion off from the company’s market value in its first seven days of trading. The glitch-plagued IPO has drawn scrutiny from regulators and ire from disgruntled investors who had trouble executing trades.

Blackberry maker Research in Motion plunged 11 percent in after-hours trading to $10 after the company said it expects to post a loss in its first quarter amid tough competition in the smartphone business.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed up 14.60 points at 1,332.42, and the Nasdaq composite added 33.46 points to 2,870.99.

 

SpaceX calls its next rocket the world’s most powerful

Space Exploration Technologies said it has signed its first commercial contract for a new rocket that will be more powerful than the one that launched the company’s Dragon capsule to the International Space Station last week.

The Hawthorne, Calif., company known as SpaceX said Tuesday it will loft a satellite for the communications services company Intelsat, using a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle.

Such launches cost $83 million to $128 million, depending on weight.

SpaceX said its Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in the world and, historically, second only to the Saturn V rockets that launched the Apollo missions to the moon.

Last week, SpaceX launched a cargo-carrying capsule atop its Falcon 9 rocket as a test run for NASA. The capsule successfully docked with the space station.

 

Maine gasoline prices drop four cents to average $3.69

Gas prices in Maine continue to tumble, down more than four cents in the past week.

Price-monitoring website MaineGasPrices.com reported that the average retail cost of a gallon of gas in Maine is now $3.69, four cents above the national average.

The current price is more than 12 cents per gallon lower than on the same day a year ago and more than 20 cents lower than a month ago.