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Stock-index futures rallied on Monday morning on the heels of Wall Street's best performance since 2009 as traders grew hopeful European policymakers will decisively act to stem the two-year-old debt crisis.
As of 8:30 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures soared 145 points to 12,145, S&P 500 futures rallied 16.8 points to 1,260 and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 30.8 points to 2,334.
The markets posted a blockbuster performance last week: the broad S&P 500 surged 7.4%, while the blue chips tacked on some 788 points. With the docket of U.S. economic data fairly shallow on Monday, traders will be paying close attention to Europe, where leaders are rushing to put together a comprehensive package to save the euro.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy are set to meet in Paris on the day. The leaders of Europe's two biggest economies are expected to discuss methods of creating a tighter fiscal union between the 17 euro zone countries, and broad measures to tackle the debt crisis, ahead of a key summit this Friday.
Investors are expecting European leaders to "come out with big guns blazing," Louise Cooper, a market analyst with BGC Partners, said in an interview with FOX Business, adding that they expect a "big" announcement following the summit.
The hope is that if European officials create a system to make sure countries are keeping their debt inline, it will give the European Central Bank the ammunition it needs to launch a large bond-buying program to ease yields on embattled euro-zone sovereign debt.
The European Central Bank is the only institution that has the power to create euros, and is widely seen as a crucial player in tackling the crisis. The problem is the ECB doesn't want to increase the likelihood of repeating the crisis by bailing the system out without consequences for highly-indebted countries.
To that end, Italy's new government unveiled a roughly $40 billion austerity program on Monday that includes spending cuts, tax increases and reforms to the country's costly pension system. Italy is Europe's third-biggest economy, and has an enormous public debt burden. The specter that it may need a rescue like other heavily-indebted countries spooked the markets several weeks ago, and forced the ouster of its old government.
The country's 10-year bonds yield 6.35% presently, or trade at a 4.18 percentage-point premium to Europe's safe-haven German bund. That represents a considerable easing from just a week ago when yields topped the closely-watched 7% mark.
European blue chips jumped 1.6%, while the euro rose 0.1% to $1.3448. The dollar fell 0.25% against a basket of six world currencies.
On the U.S. front, Wall Street will get fresh data on the services and manufacturing sectors. The Institute for Supply Management's gauge of service-sector activity will likely show continued modest expansion in November, according to economists' estimates. Factory orders may have slipped 0.3%, economists say.
Energy markets edged higher. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 72 cents, or 0.71%, to $101.68 a barrel. Wholesale RBOB gasoline climbed 2 cents, or 0.78%, to $2.64 a gallon.
Market participants have sold U.S. Treasury bonds as they have moved into equities, pushing yields higher. The benchmark 10-year note yields 2.094% from 2.037%.
European blue chips jumped 1.6%, the English FTSE 100 climbed 0.83% to 5,598 and the German DAX rallied 1% to 6,141.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 0.6% to 8,696 and the Chinese Hang Seng gained 0.73% to 19,180.