Mid-Day Update: Consumer Sentiment Provides Added Lift to Italy-Led Rally

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Stocks are broadly higher in mid-day trading while investors cheer 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.

In mid-day company news:

Shares of Citigroup (C) are higher while the Financial Times reports that the bank will get $4.1 billion from its sale of recording house EMI after a deal agreed to by Universal and Sony.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) shares are up over 1% after it announced a technology transfer agreement with the Brazilian Ministry of Health to expand access to its HIV treatment Reyataz in Brazil. The agreement is designed to build the capacity and skills required for the Brazilian government to produce a sustainable, high quality supply of atazanavir and will enable the government to become, over time, the sole source of atazanavir in Brazil.

Shares of Google (GOOG) are higher as the company is reportedly planning to unveil a television running Google software at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to a Bloomberg report. The move would be done in conjunction with LG Electronics, the report said.

ConocoPhillips (COP) is up while the Wall Street Journal reports that China's State Oceanic Administration said in a statement Friday that a ConocoPhillips unit violated development plans at its oil field in China's Bohai Bay.

ConAgra Foods (CAG) said Friday that it will acquire National Pretzel Company, a private label pretzels manufacturer based in Lancaster, Pa., from Brookstone Holdings, for an undisclosed sum.

Commodities are higher as December gold contracts are up 1.32% to $1,783 an ounce while December crude oil contacts are up 0.93% to $98.69 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.09% to $38.13 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 1.09%, to $38.13.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.34% to $173.44. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 3.47% to $62.26. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 1.75% to $33.72.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 161.38 (+2.17%) to 7,585.06

-DJIA up 268.37 (+2.26%) to 12,162.16

-S&P 500 up 25.16 (+2.03%) to 1,264.85

-Nasdaq up 53.78 (+2.05%) to 2,678.92

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei up 0.2%.

Hang Seng up 0.9%.

Shanghai Composite up 0.1%.

FTSE-100 up 0.9%.

DAX-30 up 1.9%.

MID-DAY NYSE INDEX WATCH

NYSE Energy up 2.1% at 12,723.91

NYSE Financial up 2.42% at 4,134.27

NYSE Health Care up 1.9% at 6,883.75

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 2.3% at 1,128.01

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) NVDA (+2.6%) continues evening gain that followed earnings beat.

(+) DIS (+6.4%) continues evening gain that followed earnings beat.

(+) CAT (+3.5%) building new plant; confirms Asian expansion.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) UBNT (-1.9%) reports stronger earnings vs year ago.

(-) KW (-4.6%) prices shares.

(-) DHI (-1.9%) issues mixed results.

(-) ANX (-24.7%) selling stock.

(-) MCP (-11.8%) continues evening drop that followed Q3 miss.



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

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BBY , DIS , JWN , TGT , WMT

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