Stocks Surge on Europe Data, US Housing

Stocks were sharply higher at the open on Tuesday,  supported by a better Spanish bond auction, data showing an improvement in the German economic outlook and a jump in U.S. housing starts. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rallied 233.63 points, or 1.99%, to 11,999.89. The S&P 500 advanced 24.88 points, or 2.06%, to 1,230.23. The Nasdaq Composite rose 54.93 points, or 2.18%, to 2,578.07.

In Spain, the Treasury successfully auctioned €5.64 billion ($7.38 billion) of three- and six-month bonds, raising more than it had initially hoped, as borrowing costs dropped.

The German DAX 30 index rose 0.8% to 5,717.98, getting a lift after the Ifo business-climate index for December climbed to 107.2 from 106.6 in the prior month, against consensus that saw the level at 106.

Housing starts and permits for future construction jumped to a 1-1/2 year high in November as demand for rental apartments rose. The Commerce Department said on Tuesday housing starts surged 9.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 units, the highest since April last year.

Congress was headed toward a holiday-season partisan standoff over an effort to pass core elements of President Barack Obama’s jobs program — renewal of payroll tax cuts and long-term unemployment benefits — that Republican and Democratic leaders alike say they support.

Olympus Corp is preparing to issue about $1.28 billion (100 billion yen) in new shares to bolster its depleted finances, with Japanese high-tech stalwarts Sony and Fujifilm seen as possible buyers, the Nikkei business daily reported.

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