Stocks Soar on Europe Hopes, Strong Housing Starts

U.S. stocks surged on Tuesday following encouraging signs out of Europe and a jump in the nation’s housing starts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 337.32 points, or 2.87%, to 12,103.43. The S&P 500 added 35.95 points, or 2.98%, to 1,241.30. The Nasdaq Composite gained 80.59 points, or 3.19%, to 2,603.73.

The Spanish government pulled off a successful debt auction Tuesday and gauges of business and consumer confidence in Germany increased. Both helped ease worries about Europe’s debt crisis.

New construction of houses rose in November to the highest annual rate since April 2010, with multi-family activity leading the monthly U.S. growth, according to data released Tuesday by the Commerce Department. Housing starts jumped 9.3% last month to a seasonally adjusted rate of 685,000.

Crude-oil futures finished more than 3% higher Tuesday. The January contract for light, sweet crude oil climbed $3.34, or 3.6%, to settle at $97.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CVS Caremark Corp. estimated on Tuesday that 2012 adjusted earnings would rise in a range of 13% to 17% and lifted the quarterly dividend 30%. The company will peg 2012 adjusted earnings at $3.15 to $3.25 a share. Continuing operations should generate $2.93 to $3.03 a share.

Nike Inc. on Tuesday posted a fiscal second-quarter profit of $469 million, or $1 a share, up 3% from the profit of $457 million, or 94 cents a share, it made in the same 2010 period. Sales advanced 18% to $5.7 billion.

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