U.S. stock markets rallied today as investors increasingly expect the European Union to offer some sort of assistance for Greece.
Battered European bank shares are surging and firms involved in commodities lead the rally.
The S&P 500 Index gained 13.36 points, or 1.26 percent, to trade at 1,070.10 at 10:26 a.m. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 146.17 points, or 1.48 percent, to trade at 10,054.56. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.15 percent to trade at 2,150.43.
While U.S. banks are up modestly, shares of European banks traded on the New York Stock Exchange soared. American Depositary Receipts of Barclays (NYSE:BCS) jumped 3.22 percent, and the National Bank of Greece (NYSE:NBG) managed to gain 11.70 percent. Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) shares gained 6.27 percent.
The Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials Index is up 2.50 percent. U.K. mining giant Rio Tinto (NYSE:RTP) gained 7.08 percent and U.S. Steel (NYSE:X) gained 4.11 percent.
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The price of 10-year Greek government bonds gained today as their yields dropped. The cost of insuring Greek sovereign debt from default also fell today as speculation increases that European Union leaders will publicly pledge some form of support.
Similar rumors surfaced ahead of the Group 7 meeting last week, although the conclusion of the G7 meeting disappointed some investors and analysts. European leaders are set to meet again this Thursday at the European Union Economic Summit.
Rumors surfaced earlier today that European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet changed flights to cut short his current trip in Australia, fueling speculation that he was returning to Europe early in order to discuss plans of supporting Greece. However, according to CNBC, Trichet changed his plans only because he was afraid of missing a connecting flight.
The U.K. also reported encouraging news today as the $3 billion sale of its government debt went smoothly, despite the Bank of England's decision on Thursday, February 4 to pause its $317 billion bond purchase plans.
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