U.S. stocks rise Tuesday following a relatively smooth Italian bond auction and as eurozone ministers work to move forward with plans to bolster the region's bailout fund.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks were higher Tuesday following a relatively smooth Italian bond auction and as eurozone ministers worked to move forward with plans to bolster the region's bailout fund.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were rising 96 points, or 93 points above fair value, at 11,594. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 13 points, or 13 points above fair value, at 1204. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq were rising 20 points, or 17 points above fair value, at 2241.

Confidence in the ability of European leaders to resolve the region's debt crisis appeared to be improving, with Italy selling €7.5 billion ($10 billion) of debt Tuesday. The country sold three-year bonds at a 7.89% yield and 10-year bonds at a 7.56% yield.

The euro was rallying to its highest level against the dollar in a week following the Italian bond sale, up 0.5% against the dollar.

European Union finance ministers are expected to agree Tuesday on the specifics on the plan to expand their bailout fund to rein in debt contagion risks. This, after President Barack Obama on Monday pressured EU officials for more aggressive actions on resolving the debt crisis.

Moody's said it could downgrade the subordinated debt of 87 banks across 15 countries on worries that governments wouldn't have the capacity to rescue them. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's warned of a possible downgrade on the outlook on France's triple-A credit rating.

London's FTSE 100 was up 0.15% and Germany's DAX was higher by 0.6%. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei Average finished up 2.3% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 1.21% .

January oil futures were rising 50 cents to $98.71 a barrel and February gold futures were up $3.40 to $1,717.90.



The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 7/32, lifting the yield to 2%, while the U.S. dollar was falling against a basket of currencies, with the U.S. dollar index down 0.5%.

Stocks soared Monday on robust Black Friday sales and signs that Europe is making progress toward resolving its sovereign debt crisis.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



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