Stocks Jump to Begin 2012

U.S. stocks opened the first session of 2012 in a rally mode, with Wall Street optimistic after positive manufacturing data from China, and expectations for the same in the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 226.07 points, or 1.85%, to 12,443.63. The S&P 500 rose 22.31 points, or 1.77%, to 1,279.91. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 53.34 points, or 2.05%, to 2,658.49.

An official reading of China’s purchasing managers’ index released over the weekend showed manufacturing activity swung from a contraction to a mild expansion.

Onetime Republican presidential frontrunner Newt Gingrich called on campaign rival Mitt Romney Tuesday to “just level with the American people” about his moderate political views.

Policymakers marked the 10th anniversary on Sunday of the introduction of euro notes and coins by urging governments in the currency bloc to save and consolidate to overcome their debt crisis.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has a vision for a Soviet Union-lite he hopes will become a new Moscow-led global powerhouse. But, his planned Eurasian Union won’t be grounded in ideology: This time it’s about trade.

U.S. crude-oil futures retraced their path back above the $100-a-barrel level during Asian trading hours Tuesday. The front-month

light, sweet crude-oil futures contract for February delivery climbed to $100.29 a barrel in electronic trading, rising $1.46, or 1.5%, from Friday’s close on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

French oil group Total SA (:TOTF.PA) is ploughing $2.3 billion into the development of U.S. shale gas reserves in Ohio in the latest example of global energy companies piling into new energy sources made economic by the high price of crude.

BP (LSE:BP.L) has called on contractor Halliburton (:HAL.C) to pay all costs and expenses it incurred to clean up the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which the oil major previously put at around $42 billion.

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