Market Recap: Stocks Boosted by Housing, Goldman Sachs

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +0.78% , S&P +1.11% , Nasdaq +1.53% , Oil +0.15% , Gold +0.37% .

On the commodities front, Oil climbed to $100.86 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold climbing to $1,661.70 an ounce while Silver rose 1.16% to settle at $30.49.

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Today’s markets were up because:

1) Europe . The International Monetary Fund is seeking to boost its war chest by $500 billion. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday that her staff are studying options for more than doubling the size of the fund’s lending capacity in order to better insulate the global economy against Europe’s debt crisis after identifying the potential for a $1 trillion global financing gap in the next two years. Greek government officials also resumed talks with the group representing private sector investors and banks today. Institute of International Finance director Charles Dallara, who represents the private sector in negotiations, said that final terms could be reached within days, ensuring that private holders of Greek bonds accept a writedown that cuts Greece’s debt load by more than a quarter.

2) Housing. Investors were encouraged by a better-than-expected housing report today, which showed builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes to have climbed four points in January as employment and consumer confidence slowly improved in a growing number of markets and builders witnessed greater interest among potential buyers. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, or HMI, rose to 25 points in its fourth consecutive month of gains to the highest level the index has attained since June 2007.

3) Goldman. Despite reporting fourth-quarter revenue well below expectations, Goldman Sachs shares shot up almost 7 percent today after the firm reported earnings that beat forecasts and CEO Lloyd Blankfein said in a statement that he is seeing “encouraging” signs of improvement in the market and economy. Goldman’s results come just one day after Citigroup missed earnings estimates and Wells Fargo met expectations with its fourth-quarter report. Bank of America and Morgan Stanley will report on Thursday.

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