Stocks Surge on Robust Sales

U.S. stocks surged on Monday following reports of strong Black Friday weekend sales and amid optimism that European leaders may be working toward a solution to the continent’s debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 291.23 points, or 2.59%, to 11,523.01. The S&P 500 rallied 33.88 points, or 2.92%, to 1,192.55. The Nasdaq Composite added 85.83 points, or 3.52%, to 2,527.34.

The mood on Wall Street was cheerful after major retailers reported record sales of $52.4 billion over Black Friday weekend — up 16% from last year — according to a survey by the National Retail Federation released Sunday.

Germany and France stepped up a drive on Monday for coercive powers to reject euro zone members’ budgets that breach EU rules, and the United States kept up the drumbeat of demands from the rest of the world for decisive action.

Household debt in the U.S. declined by 0.6 percent in the third quarter as mortgage balances shrank, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Consumer indebtedness fell by $60 billion from the end of June to $11.66 trillion on Sept. 30, according to a quarterly report on household debt and credit released today by the district bank. Mortgage balances declined by about $114 billion, or 1.3 percent.

A federal judge in New York on Monday threw out a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup over a 2007 mortgage derivatives deal, saying that the S.E.C.’s policy of settling cases by allowing a company to neither admit nor deny the agency’s allegations did not satisfy the law.

Crude-oil futures on Monday settled at their highest in more than a week, spurred by a strong start to the holiday-shopping season, a weaker dollar, and a surge for equities. Light, sweet crude futures for January delivery advanced $1.44, or 1.5%, to settle at $98.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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