Stocks Sharply Higher in Mid-Day Trading

U.S. stocks held firm in mid-day trading on Monday as investors’ risks appetite increased significantly in the backdrop of growing optimism that congressional leaders will successfully negotiate the issue concerning the fiscal cliff following President Obama’s remarks over the weekend while strong housing sector data also bolstered the sentiment.

At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 1.36%; the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.75% while the S&P 500 Index jumped 1.65%.

Most of the key S&P 500 sectors were trading in green territory with stocks belonging to materials and telecom sectors gaining the most while utilities stocks lagged.

Market sentiment improved by leaps and bounds since Friday after congressional leaders described first rounds of talks over the fiscal cliff issue as “constructive”. Congressional leaders looked optimistic that negotiations will be reached before the Christmas which would prevent the ‘fiscal cliff’. Later on Sunday, President Obama also reiterated that he was confident enough that two sides would be able to find a solution.

On U.S. economic news front, a data provided by National Association of Realtors showed that existing home sales climbed 2.1 percent in October to seasonally adjusted 4.79 million units. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting reading 4.75 million units.

In a separate data, the homebuilder sentiment jumped for seventh successive month in November, hitting its highest level. According to NAHB/Wells Fargo the index stood at 46 while economists polled by Reuters were expecting the reading at 41.

Elsewhere in Europe, equities rallied after a report carried out by Reuters said Greece might be offered next tranche of recue funds (44 billion euro) by December 5 provided that it’s ready to adhere to terms and conditions laid down by the Troika.

In some corporate news, Citigroup (NYSE: C) announced that it will slash 300 jobs this year during this year, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) announced that its CEO Paul Otellini had decided to retire from next May.

Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE: LOW) and Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) continued to rally after both companies’ quarterly earnings topped Street’s estimates.

After the closing bell, Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ: URBN) and Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) are scheduled to report quarterly results.

edliston

edliston

Ed Liston is a senior contributing editor at TheStockMarketWatch.com. An active market watcher and investor, Ed guides an independent team of experienced analysts and writes for multiple stock trader publications. He is widely quoted in various financial publications on the Internet. When Ed is not writing about stocks, investing in stocks, talking about stocks, or otherwise doing something stock related, he likes to go sailing and fishing in his yacht.