(By Balachander) U.S. stocks rallied and closed sharply higher as "constructive" budget talks to resolve the fiscal crisis buoyed sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index rose 1.99 percent to end at 1,386.88. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 12,795.65, up 1.65 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.21 percent to close at 2,916.07.
"I am confident we can get our fiscal situation dealt with," President Barack Obama told a news conference in Bangkok.
Obama has pushed for higher taxes on wealthy Americans to address the fiscal cliff of roughly $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases that could hit economic growth.
In a statement on Friday, the White House said the President and the leadership had a constructive meeting and agreed to do everything possible to find a solution that averts the so-called "fiscal cliff," and to work together to find a balanced approach to reduce deficit that includes both revenues and cuts in spending and encourages long-term economic and job growth.
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Meanwhile, eurozone finance ministers are set to meet in Brussels on Tuesday amid reports that a tentative approval of the next round of aid to Greece is likely to be approved.
On the U.S. data front, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing home sales for October unexpectedly rose 2.1 percent to 4.79 million in October from a downwardly revised 4.69 million in September, while economists expected 4.70 million. The National Association of Home Builders housing market index jumped to 46 in November from 41 last month, while expectations were in for a modest rise.
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In a holiday-shortened trading week, investors are likely to focus on data including: housing starts, weekly jobless claims, consumer sentiment survey by Reuters and the University of Michigan and Conference Board (CB) leading index.
The markets will be shut for Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and will close early Friday.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: AAPL, CSCO, LOW, TSN, LGND, BMTI
In corporate news, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) jumped more than 7 percent after a Wall Street analyst said that the recent sell-off has been overdone, and it might be the best time to build positions in the shares.
Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) said its president and chief executive, Paul Otellini, has decided to retire as an officer and director at annual stockholders' meeting in May. Shares closed 0.35 percent higher.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) gained 1.83 after the company late Sunday announced its plan to acquire cloud networking company Meraki Inc. for $1.2 billion in cash to expand its software-centric services.
Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) rose 6.19 percent after the home improvement retailer posted a jump in quarterly earnings amid growth in sales. Net earnings surged 76 percent to $396 million, including charges.
Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN): jumped 10.90 percent after the Springdale, Arkansas-based company reported quarterly profit that nearly doubled from last year as margins improved, while sales fell as volume declined at its beef and pork segments.
GlaxoSmithKline Plc (NYSE: GSK) said the U.S. health regulators have approved its new indication for PROMACTA to treat thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet counts) in patients with chronic hepatitis C to allow the initiation and maintenance of interferon-based therapy. PROMACTA was discovered as a result of a research collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline and Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: LGND). LGND shares surged 14.58 percent.
BioMimetic Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BMTI) shares jumped 75.18 percent after it has agreed with Wright Medical Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WMGI) for a business combination. WMGI shares shed 1.65 percent.
European markets ended sharply higher, with Germany's DAX jumping 2.49 percent to close at 7,123.84. France's CAC40 added 2.93 percent to finish at 3,439.58. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 2.36 percent to end at 5,737.66.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.11 percent to finish at 2,016.98. Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.43 percent to end at 9,153.20. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index added 0.49 percent to end at 21,262.06. India's BSE Sensex ended at 18,339.00, up 0.16 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures climbed 2.58 percent to $89.16 per barrel, while natural gas futures shed 1.6 percent to $3.73 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures added 1.02 percent to $1,732.2 per ounce and silver futures jumped 2.27 percent to $33.11 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.52 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2809. The British pound gained 0.17 percent against the greenback to 1.5906, and the dollar rose 0.11 percent against the Japanese yen at 81.4100.