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Monday, 12 September 2011 | 21:04

DJ30 PointChange: +68.99 Level: 11061.12 NASDAQ PointChange: +27.10 Level: 2495.09 NQ100 PercentChange: +1.3 R2K PercentChange: +0.9 SP400 PercentChange: +0.6 SP500 PointChange: +8.04 Level: 1162.27 NASDAQ-Adv:1418 Dec: 1162 NYSE-Adv:1440 Dec: 1576

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market settled with a solid gain after it had been down in excess of 1% amid heightened concerns about fiscal and financial conditions in Europe.

Speculation that a few of France's primary financial institutions -- Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, and Credit Agricole -- might be hit with a debt downgrade called into question the health of the country's financial system. Of course, such consideration comes in addition to the already precarious conditions in the eurozone periphery.

Amid fears of contagion, Europe's bourses were cut down and domestic markets opened with marked losses. A bout of buying interest took the major US averages upward in the early going, but the effort lost momentum when the Dow and S&P 500 attempted to turn positive. The Nasdaq was able to find higher ground with help from internet retailers and semiconductor stocks, which were bolstered by news that Broadcom (BRCM 33.07, -0.37) will acquire NetLogic (NETL 48.12, +16.21) for $50 per share, or a premium of more than 55% over its closing price last week.

A lack of positive leadership left stocks to drift lower in afternoon trade. Yet the rumor that a sovereign wealth fund from China was talking with Italy about a bond purchase prompted a broad-based bounce. Sellers attempted to reapply pressure in the final hour, but stocks were able to overcome the resistance. That squeezed out some sellers, giving the market's late rise added momentum.

Financials made one of the stronger moves. The sector settled with a 1.2% gain as bank stocks bounded to give the KBW Bank Index a 1.7% gain.

Materials made up the only major sector that failed to put together a gain. The sector's 0.8% loss was underpinned by weakness among metals and miners issues, which left the SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME 54.99, -0.67) to log a loss in excess of 1%.

The late barrage of buying interest helped pull the Volatility Index back below 40 after it had been up more than 10% to trade above 43 at midday.

The dollar had a rather volatile day, though. It set a six-month high against a basket of competing currencies overnight, but drifted lower to start the trading day with a slight loss. The greenback eventually battled back, but ended the session near the flat line.

Treasuries had a rather quiet session until they ticked lower as stocks staged their late-session surge. Treasuries showed little response to the latest auction of 3-year Notes.

Advancing Sectors: Tech +1.3%, Financials +1.2%, Consumer Discretionary +1.2%, Utilities +0.9%, Telecom +0.7%, Energy +0.5%, Health Care +0.4%, Industrials +0.1%, Consumer Staples +0.1%
Declining Sectors: Materials -0.8%

Source: Briefing

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