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Asian Markets are set to open higher after U.S. stocks climbed, giving the Standard & Poor's 500 Index its biggest gain of the month, as better-than-estimated housing starts added to expectations the world's largest economy will weather Europe's debt crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished 337.32 points higher, or 2.87%, at 12103.60 with a rally powered ahead by hopes for the financial market, relief for banks and a bit of short-covering after recent decline. The S&P500 rose 35.95 points, or 2.98%, to 1241.30, while the Nasdaq jumped 80.59 points or 3.19%.

Stocks gained as builders broke ground in November on more houses than at any time in the past 19 months. The Federal Reserve sought to curb the risk of financial turmoil by strengthening its tools for preventing the collapse of large firms and demanding stricter oversight by companies' boards of directors. Concern about Europe's crisis eased today as German business confidence unexpectedly grew.

The euro rallied to a one-week high against the dollar after borrowing costs fell at a Spanish bill sale and German business confidence unexpectedly increased, easing concern the region's debt crisis is worsening.

WTI Oil prices rose, with U.S. crude posting the biggest percentage rise since late October, on supportive economic data that also lifted the euro and equities, coupled with worries about potential supply disruptions in Iran and Kazakhstan. U.S. January crude rose $3.19, or 3.39%, to settle at $97.24 a barrel, having reached $97.45 and pushing back above the 200-day moving average of $95.78.

Gold prices rose to their highest in nearly a week as the euro rallied 1% versus the dollar, with rising stock markets pointing to a sharper appetite for assets seen as higher risk at the U.S. currency's expense. Spot was up 1.3% at $1,612.80 an ounce. Prices are within $10 of their 200-day moving average, a key technical level they fell through last week, which is just above $1,621 an ounce.

INDICES



Last Traded

SPI 200 future

4113

S&P500 Index

1241.30

Dow Jones

12103.60

FTSE 100 Index

5419.60



COMMODITIES



Last Traded

Gold

1617.20

Oil (Nymex)

97.46



CURRENCIES



Last Traded

AUDUSD

1.0075

EURUSD

1.3080

GBPUSD

1.5662

USDJPY

77.88

Source
Bloomberg, Dow Jones News