U.S. stocks settled near session highs, as Europe once again dictated the collective mood on Wall Street. Specifically, the major market indexes spent the first half of the session dawdling near breakeven, as traders awaited -- and then digested -- a read-between-the-lines budget vote in Rome. However, stocks made a decisive move higher in early afternoon trading, after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi promised to resign as soon as parliament approved the austerity measures demanded by the European Union (EU) -- which could come as early as next week. Amid hopes for a new Italian government on the horizon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) muscled its way to a triple-digit surplus, while the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (COMP) each tacked on 1.2%.
After finding intraday support near 12,000, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA – 12,170.18) blazed a steady path into the black, adding 101.8 points, or 0.8%, by the bell. In fact, only Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and McDonald's (MCD) bucked the trend, while 3M (MMM) led the 28 advancing blue chips with a 2.7% gain.
The S&P 500 Index (SPX – 1,275.92) fell as low as 1,254.99 before bouncing back, advancing 14.8 points, or 1.2%, when all was said and done. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP – 2,727.49) also clawed its way out of the red, tacking on 32.2 points, or 1.2%, to end north of 2,700 for the first time since Oct. 28.
Turning to equities in focus, Priceline.com (PCLN) stepped up to the earnings podium ... Dynegy (DYN) offered details on its bankruptcy-related restructuring ... Pre-earnings pessimists pounced on Weight Watchers International (WTW) ... Competitive concerns prompted another downgrade for Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) ... Analysts pummeled Urban Outfitters (URBN) in the wake of a disappointing sales report ... and today's Quote of the Day comes from Adam Rifkin. This Friday, Nov. 11, is not only Veteran's Day, it's also "Nerd New Year" in Silicon Valley, where dorks will celebrate by drinking, counting down until 11:11 p.m., and building robots (naturally). However, as Rifkin -- an organizer -- clarifies:
"They are friendly robots. We are into preserving humanity."
But these weren't the only headlines hitting the Street today. Click on the links below for our blog coverage of:
And, in case you missed it, Senior Technical Strategist Ryan Detrick made a cameo on Yahoo! Finance's "Breakout" program. Click here for his two cents on the market's end-of-year trajectory.
For today's activity in crude oil, gold futures, options, and more, turn to page 2.
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