U.S. stocks rose, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest gain in about a month as investors weighed prospects for a budget deal in Washington.

All 10 groups in the S&P 500 rose as financial companies gained the most, adding 2.1 per cent.

American International Group Inc. climbed 3 per cent on plans to sell as much as $6.5 billion of AIA Group Ltd shares.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. jumped 3.6 per cent as Sun Life Financial Inc.’s deal to sell a U.S. annuity unit raised the prospect for the insurer seeking to sell a similar business.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. rose 1.8 per cent as Deutsche Bank AG upgraded the hospital chain.

Apple traded down as much as 2.5% in pre-market trading only to rally once the market opened, ending the day up 1.8% and

back above the $500 level.

The S&P 500 index bounced off its 100 day moving average to close at its day highs with about 6.3 billion shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges, 2.3 per cent above the three-month average.

 

The differences over how to resolve the "fiscal cliff" narrowed significantly Monday night as President Barack Obama made a counter-offer to Republicans that included a major change in position on tax hikes for the wealthy, according to a source familiar with the talks.

BoE - Credit-boosting plan shows signs of helping to lower bank funding costs, which may spur gradual pickup in mortgage approvals and aid the economy, bank says in its Quarterly Bulletin, published in London today.

Spain will sell a maximum of EU3.5bn of three and six month treasury bills; Results due at about 10:40am in Madrid.

 

• 10am: Italian Senate begins debate on the government’s budget plan.

• GE Nears Deal to Buy Italy’s Avio

• Roche’s Avastin Fails to Win NICE Backing for Ovarian Cancer Use

• Glaxo’s Revolade Wins U.K. Cost Agency’s Backing After Discount

• ECB President Mario Draghi said ECB policies and governance reforms in the euro area have revived

confidence that will help foster a gradual economic recovery in 2H of next year

• AstraZeneca Says Brilinta Recommended in New Heart Guidelines

European stock futures advanced, indicating the Stoxx Europe 600 Index will gain at the open, amid optimism that U.S. lawmakers will agree on a new budget. U.S. index futures and Asian shares also climbed.

GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) may move after the U.K.’s health-cost regulator endorsed its treatment for a rare bleeding disorder. Roche Holding AG (ROG) might be active after the country’s regulator failed to approve an anti-tumor drug at its recommended dosage. AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) may be active after saying a group of cardiology experts in the U.S. recommended its anti-platelet drug.

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures increased 0.4 per cent, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.4 per cent.

In China, policy makers set an initial target for growth at 7.5 percent for a second year, according to two bank executives and a regulator official .The government also plans to keep inflation at about 3.5 percent, the people said. Chinese officials made the forecasts during their annual central economic work conference, which ended on Dec. 16. 

 

David Brockman | Sales and Trading