(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended sharply higher on a holiday-shortened trading day for Wall Street as some positive global reports weighed on the sentiment and the American holiday shopping season kicked off.
The S&P 500 Index gained 1.30 percent to end at 1,409.15. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 13,009.68, up 1.35 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 1.38 percent to close at 2,966.85.
Buoying the sentiment were hopes that a final agreement on a debt-reduction package for Greece may be reached on Monday, when the European officials will meet again to complete further technical work.
Retailers are in focus as investors gauge the spending of the consumers on Black Friday - the traditional beginning of the shopping season. The National Retail Federation forecasts sales growth of 4.1 percent this holiday season.
There were no major domestic economic reports due and corporate announcements were light in the day.
In overseas news, a report showed that the German business confidence improved unexpectedly in November to 101.4 from 100 in October, while expectations were for the reading to drop to 99.5. A report from China showed that manufacturing activity in November expanded for the first time in 13 months.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: RIMM, WMT, MCP, MAPP, KITD, OCZ
In corporate news, Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) jumped 13.65 percent after Canadian brokerage National Bank Financial said sales of new BlackBerry 10 phone, due for launch early next year, will be better than expected.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) rose 1.9- percent. Wal-Mart U.S. reported its "best ever" Black Friday events, saying it sold 1.8 million towels, 1.3 million televisions, 1.3 million dolls and 250,000 bicycles.
Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) shares jumped in 19.23 percent amid disclosures of insider buying. Director Charles Henry bought a total of 45,192 shares at prices between $6.9499 and $7.1011. John Ashburn, Jr., executive vice president and general counsel of Molycorp, acquired 10,000 shares at $6.196. The recent purchases by Molycorp's executives follow CEO Mark Smith's purchase of 20,000 shares for an average price of $6.2024.
KIT Digital Inc. (NASDAQ: KITD) tumbled 64.25 percent after the IP video software services company disclosed that will restate its financial statements for the 2009-2011 period. The company's former chairman and CEO Kaleil Isaza Tuzman has sent a letter to KIT's board, urging the company to discuss an acquisition offer.
MAP Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: MAPP) surged 20.28 percent after the company announced that the U.S. health regulators have accepted its resubmission of a new drug application for its migraine treatment.
OCZ Technology Group Inc. (NASDAQ: OCZ) retreated 2.52 percent after the maker of solid-state drives disclosed it has received inquiry from the SEC indicating that the company is under investigation. The company delayed the filing of its second quarter 10-Q.
European markets ended higher, with Germany's DAX advancing 0.89 percent to close at 7,309.13. France's CAC40 rose 0.87 percent to finish at 3,528.80. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 0.49 percent to end at 5,819.14.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index added 0.58 percent to finish at 2,027.38. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.79 percent to end at 21,913.98. India's BSE Sensex ended at 18,506.57, down 0.06 percent. Japan's Nikkei 225 was shut for a public holiday.
Commodity & Currency Scan
Crude oil futures added 1.12 percent to $88.36 per barrel, while natural gas futures dipped 0.23 percent to $3.89 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures gained 1.35 percent to $1,751.5 per ounce and silver futures jumped 2.26 percent to $34.20 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro added 0.78 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2986. The British pound gained 0.70 percent against the greenback to 1.6047, while the dollar lost 0.08 percent against the Japanese yen at 82.3900.