Major Indexes Firm as Italy Moves Boost Street Mood; Consumer Sentiment Rises


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Stocks are broadly higher in mid-day trading while investors cheered Italy's latest move to approve austerity measures while new data released this morning showed better-than-expected sentiment among U.S. consumers. Positive earnings news also provided a lift to stocks.

In U.S. economic data, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment rose to 64.2 in November compared with an October reading of 60.9. That increase is better than the 63 reading economists had expected.

That provided a lift to retailers, which are gearing up for the all-important holiday shopping season. Wal-Mart Stores ( WMT ) is up 1.3%. Target ( TGT ) is up 1.9% and Best Buy Stores ( BBY ) is up 3.4%. Nordstrom ( JWN ) hasn't joined the consumer-sentiment rally. Shares are off some 1.8% after the company reported Q3 earnings that matched expectations.

Late yesterday, Walt Disney Co. ( DIS ) reported fourth quarter revenue of $10.42 billion, which topped analysts' average estimate of $10.36 billion as gauged by Thomson Reuters. Earnings per share was $0.58 compared to expectations of $0.54 per share. Disney shares spiked in the extended session and into Friday's session, with trades topping a 7% gain.

Overseas, the dramatic events that shaped the week in Europe appear to be settling down - at least for the short term. Italian lawmakers appeared set to approve 2012 budget measures over the weekend, potentially clearing the way for the formal resignation of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the naming of a new coalition government headed by economist and former European Commissioner Mario Monti, according to news reports. Monti is widely considered to be a technocrat who will go about the business of implementing budget action.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities
More Headlines for: BBY , DIS , JWN , TGT , WMT

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