Stocks have remained firm into the session's half after data showed sales on Black Friday surged, indicating continued improvement in sentiment among U.S. consumers. Declining borrowing costs for Spain and France also served to lift stocks. Still, new data showing new home sales last month were essentially unchanged, indicating lingering weakness in the housing market.
Last week, a poor German 10-year bond sale rocked investor sentiment and pushed borrowing costs for Italy and Belgium higher. Still, yields on Spanish and French debt declined Monday, helping to offset the negative mood.
Also, new home sales in October moved just slightly higher, to an annual rate of 307,000. Sales for September were revised down to 303,000 from 313,000. Economists had expected sales to rise 320,000 according to a MarketWatch poll.
Black Friday sales hit a record, growing 6.6% over last year to $11.4 billion, according to ShopperTrak.
Commodities are higher as January gold contracts are down 0.1% to $1,697 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are up 0.76% to $96.90 a barrel.
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