Stocks Post Black Friday Rally

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The markets posted big gains Friday as traders responded to upbeat economic and political news from Asia and Europe.

Today's Markets

As of 10:30 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 112 points, or 0.87%, to 12947, the S&P 500 gained 12.1 points, or 0.87%, to 1403 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 30.4 points, or 1%, to 2957.

The markets were closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., and will close at 1:00 p.m. today for Black Friday. Generally, volume tends to be especially thin on such trading day, traders said. Wall Street has had a strong week overall, with the broad S&P 500 advancing more than 2% amid optimism lawmakers will craft a deal that averts the fiscal cliff.

A round of upbeat news from Europe helped to boost sentiment on Friday. A closely-watched survey from the Ifo Institute showed business confidence in Germany unexpectedly increasing after six-straight declines in November.

The European Council, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank, a group often called the Troika, said it made "good progress" on talks aimed at creating a rescue program for Cyprus. The country is the latest to struggle with debt issues that put it at risk of being locked out of private markets.

Standard & Poor's also affirmed its rating on France at AA+ and said its outlook remains negative on the country.

"The affirmation reflects our opinion that the French government remains committed to budgetary and structural reforms that would build on the measures it has proposed so far and improve the country's growth potential," the ratings company said in a statement.

This comes after Moody's Investors Service sliced France's credit rating from Aaa to Aa1 on Monday, citing economic and political headwinds the country is facing.

On the Asian front, a reading of HSBC's flash PMI gauge Wednesday night showed China's manufacturing sector revved up into expansion territory for the first time in 13 months.

"This confirms that the economic recovery continues to gain momentum towards the year end," Hongbin Qu, the bank's chief economist for China said in a report. "However, it is still the early stage of recovery and global economic growth remains fragile."

Energy futures were broadly in the red. The benchmark oil contract traded in New York fell 8 cents, or 0.09%, to $87.31 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.71% to $2.73 a gallon. Gold rose $5.90, or 0.34%, to $1,734 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.02% to 2534, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.21% to 5803 and the German DAX climbed 0.07% to 7250.

In Asia, the Chinese Hang Seng jumped 0.79% to 21914. The markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.