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Market Recap: Stocks Soar on Black Friday Sales, Markets Close Early

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Markets rose sharply today:

▲ Dow: +1.35 percent

▲ Nasdaq: +1.38 percent

▲ S&P: +1.30 percent

Precious metals:

▲ Gold: +1.37 percent to $1,751.83 an ounce

▲ Silver: +2.35 percent to settle at $34.11

Commodities:

▲ Oil: +0.81 percent

Markets were up because:

The stock market enjoyed some Black Friday cheer, rising sharply as shoppers braved the annual post-Thanksgiving rush. Major indexes were on track for their biggest weekly gains since early June.

Traders were encouraged by positive economic news from Germany and China, two engines of global growth. Technology stocks soared after a few weeks of selling.

Technology stocks soared, lifting the Nasdaq composite index by more than 1 percent. Computer maker Dell, chipmaker AMD and computing giant Hewlett-Packard were the top three gainers in the Standard & Poor's 500 index. Technology rose the most among the index's 10 industry groups.

The Nasdaq rose 29 points, or 1 percent, to 2,955 as of 12:30 p.m. EST. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 110 to 12,947. The S&P 500 added 12 to 1,402.

Trading volume on Wall Street was light, with many investors away for an extended weekend after Thanksgiving. The market was to close early, at 1 p.m. EST.

European indexes added to earlier gains after Wall Street opened and closed higher. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares rose 0.5 percent. Germany's DAX and France's CAC-40 both added 0.9 percent.

Investors were monitoring developments in Brussels, where European Union leaders are trying to agree on a $1.25 trillion long-term spending plan for the 27-nation bloc. Markets expect that another meeting will be needed for an agreement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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