Reported strong consumer spending over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend pushed stocks up sharply at the opening this morning and gains have been held throughout the day. New home sales figures were slightly less than expected, but better than the previous month. There is also a belief that a solution to the European financial troubles may be in sight. Today’s best gains came in natural resources stocks. Crude oil is up about 1%, at $97.73/barrel after spending much of the morning around $99/barrel. Gold is up more than $6, at $1,691.60/ounce and silver is up more than 3%, at $32.06/ounce.The unofficial closing bells put the DJIA up more than 291 points to 11,523.01 (2.59%), the NASDAQ rose nearly 86 points (3.52%) to 2,527.34, and the S&P 500 rose 2.92% or nearly 34 points to 1,192.55.There were several analyst upgrades and downgrades today, including Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup. Other ratings actions included Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) raised to Conviction Buy List at Goldman Sachs; Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) cut to ‘neutral’ at Sterne Agee; Green Dot Corp. (NYSE: GDOT) started as ‘outperform’ at KBW; Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) raised to ‘buy’ at Citigroup; and Coinstar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSTR) raised to ‘overweight’ at JPMorgan.

There are no major earnings announcements today, but on tap for tomorrow are Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF), OmniVision Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), and B+H Ocean Carriers Ltd. (AMEX: BHO).

Several standouts from today are as follows…

Commercial Metals Co. (NYSE: CMC) is up nearly 23%, at $14.08. The company has received a takeover offer from Carl Icahn for $1.73 billion, or $15/share.

Luna Innovations Inc. (NASDAQ: LUNA) is up nearly 22%, at $1.29. There has been no news on the company today.

Magnum Hunter Resources Inc. (NYSE: MHR) is up more than 13%, at $4.28. The small oil & gas firm has had several insiders purchasing both common and preferred shares in the past 60 days.

Response Genetics, Inc. (NASDAQ: RGDX) is down more than -24%, at $1.10, after posting a new 52-week low of $0.92 earlier today. The company has received a de-listing notice from Nasdaq for failing to maintain a minimum market value of $35 million.

Cemex S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE: CX) is up about 17.5%, at $4.09. The jump is likely due to investors’ belief that the share price is at a bottom and that construction will pick up based on today’s developments in Europe.

Stay tuned for Tuesday. There are speeches scheduled from two Federal Reserve Bank presidents, Janet Yellen and Narayana Kocherlakota. Here’s a list of other noteworthy events scheduled for tomorrow(all times Eastern):

  • 9:00 a.m. – Case-Schiller housing price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – Conference Board’s consumer confidence index
  • 10:00 a.m – Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index
  • 10:00 a.m. – State Street investor confidence index

Paul Ausick

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