Monday opened the week on a down note in Asia, as concerns overItaly's debt burden pressured stocks. The Nikkei fell .4% to 8767, the Kospi declined .5% and the ASX 200 eased .2%. InChina, the Shanghai Composite fell .7% and the Hang Seng slumped .8%.
European markets recovered from steep losses to close modestly lower, boosted by rumors that Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi might resign. The CAC40 and DAX both closed down .6% and the FTSE shed .3%. Italy's MIB index rallied 1.3%, overcoming early losses.
US stocks gained, with the Dow closing up 84 points to 12068. The Nasdaq rose .3% and the S&P 500 gained .6%. Healthcare shares rallied, after Amgen announced a $5 billion stock buyback plan. Amgen shares surged 5.9% higher.
Barnes & Noble announced an update to its Nook e-reader, intended to compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire. Barnes & Noble shares fell 1.9%.
Treasuries and Commodities
Bonds closed slightly higher, with 10-year notes up 7/32 to yield 2.01%, and 30-year notes up 19/32 to yield 3.06%.
Crude oil climbed 1.5% to 95.65, and gasoline rallied 2.6% to 2.733, while natural gas fell 2.3% to 3.696.
Precious metals posted significant gains, as gold advanced 2.4% to 1797.80, and silver climbed 2.6% to 34.965. Copper edged up .2% to 3.5730.
Gold Continues to Climb
The Swiss Franc tumbled 1.6% to 1.1098 after a Swiss government panel recommended the Swiss National Bank lift the EURCHF exchange floor from 1.20 to 1.30. The EURCHF rate is currently 1.2413. A strong Franc is threatening to push Switzerland into recession as it struggles to compete with its Euro-based peers.
The Dollar traded mixed against the other major currencies, as the Euro eased .1% to 1.3776, while the Pound rose .2% to 1.6054. The Australian Dollar overcame an early loss of nearly 1% to close down fractionally at 1.03711, and the Canadian Dollar gained .6% to 1.0128.
Consumer credit was stronger than forecast climbing by $7.1 billion, after last month's sharp drop of $9.7 billion.
Tuesday's sole economic report is the TIPP Economic Optimism Report.
Earnings are due fromToyota, Amdocs, SINA, and Take Two Interactive.