Stocks Jump at Open on Europe News, Sales

Stocks opened sharply higher on Monday as Europe planned to leverage a regional rescue fund and evidence U.S. holiday sales got off to a record start. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately added 265.99 points to 11,523.54. The S&P 500 Index climbed 34.25 pints to 1,192.92. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 77.81 points to 2,519.32.

Reuters reported that European officials have reached an agreement on how to leverage the euro zone’s 440 billion euro ($586 billion) European Financial Stability Facility ahead of a Tuesday meeting of European finance ministers.

Earlier than ever store openings and steep discounts helped retailers notch record sales this Black Friday weekend, according to early reports. Total spending over the four-day weekend following Thanksgiving reached a record $52.4 billion, up 16% from $45 billion last year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released Sunday.

Annual compensation for employees at big Wall Street firms could fall 27-30 percent from a year earlier to the lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a compensation study conducted by the Options Group.

Germany insisted Monday that it has no plans to float bonds together with the eurozone’s five other triple A rated nations and use the proceeds to provide assistance to some of the single currency bloc’s indebted members, such as Italy and Spain China’s annual inflation in 2011 is likely to be about 5.5 percent and inflationary pressures will remain next year, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Monday.

Oil prices rose above $99 a barrel Monday in Asia, taking a cue from gains in stock markets after a strong start to the U.S. holiday shopping season. Benchmark crude for January delivery was up $2.49 to $99.30 a barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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