Stock Futures Charge Higher on Thanksgiving Sales, Euro Hopes

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Stock-index futures surged on Monday morning on the heels of the worst week in two months as traders cheered record retail sales during Thanksgiving weekend and reports that European leaders are moving closer to a solution to solve the continent's debt crisis.

Today's Markets

As of 9:00 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures soared 274 points to 11,461, S&P 500 futures jumped 34 points to 1,188 and Nasdaq 100 futures rallied 55 points to 2,203.

After falling more than 500 points, and close to 5%, last week, the blue chips are set for a powerful rebound on Monday.

Despite an unemployment rate that is stuck above the 9% and slow economic growth, American shoppers came out in force on Thanksgiving weekend -- seen as the kickoff of the key holiday shopping season.  Retailers raked in $52.4 billion in sales over the weekend, according to the National Retail Federation -- representing a 16.4% surge from last year. The average shopper spent $398.62 from $365.34 the year prior, the trade group said.

A large swath of retailers posted big gains in pre-market trading.  Electronics giant Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and department store Macy's (NYSE:M) were among the big retailers to perform the strongest.  Analysts are also expecting strong results on so-called Cyber Monday, in which online retailers generally offer their steepest discounts. Indeed, (NASDAQ:AMZN) the biggest online retailer, was up sharply in early trade.

Market participants were also keeping close tabs on the situation in Europe, where leaders are racing to stem the region's worsening debt crisis.  Euro zone leaders, led by Germany and France, are working on a plan to force tighter fiscal integration in the 17-member currency bloc that could be passed by December and implemented early next year, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.  

Officials believe the plan would potentially be able to skirt a time-consuming change to the European Union treaty, and could pressure the European Central Bank to make a much stronger intervention into the bond market, the report said.  Several countries, such as Italy and Spain, have seen their bond yields, and therefore borrowing costs, soar, raising the specter that they may require international assistance if action isn't taken to keep the yields in check.

Analysts that have been closely eyeing the crisis in Europe still struck a cautious tone on Monday.  "It is too early to be truly confident," analysts at Barclays Capital wrote in a note to clients, citing a slew of variables that could still obstruct the process.

European blue chips zoomed 3.7% higher, while the euro rose 0.26% to $1.335.  The dollar sunk 0.86% against a basket of six world currencies.

Energy markets got a strong boost from rallying equities and a weaker dollar.  The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York jumped $2.81, or 2.9%, to $99.58 a barrel.  Wholesale RBOB gasoline spiked 8 cents, or 3.4%, to $2.53 a gallon.

In metals, gold leaped $25.60, or 1.5%, to $1,714 a troy ounce.  Yields on U.S. Treasuries climbed as traders raced back into equity markets.  The benchmark 10-year note yields 2.059% from 1.967%.

The economic calendar is fairly light on Monday, with a report on new home sales on tap for 10:00 a.m. ET. Economists expect sales to have ticked lower by 0.3% in October from the month prior.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips zoomed 3.7% higher, the English FTSE 100 leaped 2.1% to 5,275 and the German DAX rallied 3.35 to 5,673.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rose 1.6% to 8,287 and the Chinese Hang Seng gained 2% to 18,038.