US STOCKS-Wall Street inches up as concerns ease on Cyprus

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 23, 2013 04:20 hrs

* Cyprus to spin off Greek units of its battered banks

* ECB to cut off bank funds if no bailout deal by Monday

* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.4 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 22 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday as a banking deal between Greece and Cyprus eased some concerns about the island nation as it tries to avoid a financial meltdown and an exit from the euro that could roil the euro zone.

Cyprus agreed with Greece on a takeover of the Greek units of Cypriot banks, which ended uncertainty over the fate of those operations.

But Russia rebuffed Cypriot entreaties for aid, leaving the island's leaders scrambling to strike a bailout deal with the European Union by next week or face the collapse of its financial system.

"While the market may be vulnerable because it's up so much, the U.S. economy is in a better shape and better position to withstand the whole euro zone and Cyprus situation," said Randy Frederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 59.13 points, or 0.41 percent, at 14,480.62. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 6.75 points, or 0.44 percent, at 1,552.55. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.14 points, or 0.41 percent, at 3,235.74.

Retail stocks were the day's top gainers.

Tiffany & Co reported a slightly higher profit for the quarter that included the holiday season and said net worldwide sales would rise 6 percent to 8 percent this fiscal year, with growth in all regions. The stock was up 3.6 percent at $70.38.

Nike Inc shares jumped nearly 11 percent to $59.27 as several brokerages upgraded the stock after the company's quarterly profit beat Wall Street expectations.

Blackstone Group LP and General Electric Co's lending arm have discussed jointly pursuing Dell Inc's financial-services business, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Blackstone shares were down 0.3 percent at $19.84. GE shares were little changed at $23.30.

Worries about the financial health of Cyprus have weighed on Wall Street in recent days, pushing the S&P 500 down 0.6 percent for the week.

The European Union has given Cyprus until Monday to raise 5.8 billion euros to secure a 10-billion euro international bailout. Parliament has already rejected one deal.

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