NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks managed to finish with marginal gains Tuesday after losing steam from an earlier rally and dipping into negative territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 57 points, or 0.6%, to close at 9744. The S&P 500 added 6 points, or 0.5%, to 1028, and the Nasdaq closed 2 points higher, or up by 0.1%, at 2094.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners said an oversold market and gains across global markets on Monday when U.S. markets were closed for the holiday weekend made for a nice technical on Tuesday. The week's lack of economic news and anticipation surrounding the upcoming earnings season also helped lift the market.

"The ISM Services index slowed, but that's no news to the market, which has already discounted for slower growth ahead," Cardillo said.

World markets strengthened Tuesday on comments from the Reserve Bank of Australia , which said the country's economic growth is on track, and China's expansion is stabilizing at a more sustainable pace.

Overseas on Tuesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.2% while Japan's Nikkei climbed 0.8%. The FTSE in London surged 2.9%, and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 2.2%.

The Economy

Activity in the services sector tapered in June, according to the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index, which came in at a lower-than-expected reading of 53.8. That compares to May's level of 55.4. Economists had been anticipating a marginal improvement in June with a projected reading of 55.5.

Company News

Microsoft ( MSFT), Alcoa ( AA) and BAnk of America ( BAC) helped lead the Dow higher, while Home Depot ( HD), Boeing ( BA) and Verizon ( AXP) were among the handful of components closing in negative territory.

A Goldman Sachs analyst cut his price target on Ford ( F) to $14 from 16, as he lowered his outlook for U.S. auto sales in 2010. Ford's stock lost 1.2%.

Frontier Communications ( FTR) lost 4.4% after completing its $8.6 billion acquisition of 4.1 million access lines spanning 14 states, from Verizon ( VZ).

Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF), a global mining and natural resources company based in Cleveland, agreed to buy all of privately owned INR Energy's coal operations for $757 million.

The Shanghai portion of Agricultural Bank of China's initial public offering priced at 2.68 yuan (40 cents), which was at the top of its 2.52 to 2.68 yuan range, according to Reuters. The IPO appears likely to become the largest on record when combined with its Hong Kong offering and an option that would expand proceeds to $22.2 billion, from $19.3 billion.

Shares of Goldman Sachs ( GS) gained 0.9% following an upgrade to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan. The analyst said Goldman's risk approach is more conservative than several of its peers.

Germany's parliament is suggesting a compromise over support for solar energy , suggesting a 3% reduction in feed-in tariffs effective this month, but would last for only three months. The German government is expected to vote on the subsidy Thursday.

Elsewhere in the solar sector, JA Solar ( JASO) announced it will supply solar modules to MEMC Electronic Materials ( WFR) this quarter.

Apple ( AAPL) is boosting its iPad production rate in July. According to a DigiTimes report, Apple ordered its manufacturing partners in Taiwan to increase iPad output between 2.3 million and 2.35 million this month.

Wholesale retailer Sam's Club, which is owned by Wal-Mart ( WMT), is testing a program with Superior Financial Group to offer loans of up to $25,000 to its small business members.

Improved pharmacy and front-end sales helped Walgreen ( WAG) post a 2% increase in June same-store sales.

Nokia ( NOK) is selling its wireless modem business to Japan's Renesas Electronics for $200 million.

BP ( BP) is looking for support from Middle Eastern and Asian sovereign wealth funds to defend itself from any takeover bids, according to a Reuters report.

Commodities and the Dollar

Crude oil for August delivery fell from an earlier higher of $73.86 to settle 16 cents lower, or down by 0.2%, at $71.98 a barrel.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the August gold contract lost $12.60, to settle at $1,195.10 an ounce.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.6%.


The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 11/32, lowering the yield to 2.937%.

The two-year note rose 1/32, diluting the yield to 0.617%. The 30-year bond gained 1 1/32, weakening the yield to 3.892%.

--Written by Melinda Peer in New York.

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