* Research in Motion jumps on Goldman upgrade
* Kohl's, Target shares fall after November sales data
* Italian 10-yr yield at lowest in two years
* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK, Nov 29 U.S. stocks rose in late
morning trading Thursday on optimism that the U.S. Congress was
progressing toward a budget agreement that would avert a
possible recession, though trading was volatile as investors
There have been tentative signs that Congressional leaders
are moving closer to a fiscal agreement. Indeed, investors'
hopes for a pact have risen as Republican resolve against
raising tax rates for the wealthy has weakened, and amid
optimism by President Obama and top House Republican John
Boehner that a fiscal crisis can be averted.
The S&P 500 has gained nearly 5 percent after dropping
almost 8 percent following the U.S. election in November. But
investors remain wary that ad hoc statements from policymakers
can spark quick reversals in the market.
"When the sentiment is that nothing is going to get done, it
does create a lot of anxiety and selling pressure. If there's
any sense of progress, then the market seems to rally," said
Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment
Management in Chicago. "I think we're hostage to this for the
rest of the year."
U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion
surged 6.6 percent to $11.83 after Goldman Sachs
upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral," saying it was
optimistic ahead of the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 44.62 points,
or 0.34 percent, to 13,029.73. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
rose 6.71 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,416.64. The
Nasdaq Composite Index added 20.87 points, or 0.70
percent, to 3,012.65.
Discussions are ongoing in Congress over avoiding big
spending cuts and tax hikes, known as the "fiscal cliff,"
beginning in January. Indeed, equity markets may retreat, as
they did Tuesday, if the upbeat negotiation environment in
Top retailers said weak sales in early November, after
superstorm Sandy, were a drag on the month. Target fell
1.1 percent to $62.10 percent and Kohl's Corp dropped
8.5 percent to $46.83.
The U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the
third quarter as businesses restocked, but consumer and business
spending were revised lower in a sobering reminder of the
economic recovery's underlying weakness.
Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.7 percent annual rate
in the quarter, the Commerce Department said, as export growth
helped offset the weakest consumer spending and first drop in
business investment in more than a year.
Tiffany shares slumped 7.6 percent to $58.93 after
the upscale jeweler reported quarterly results and cut its
full-year sales and profit forecasts.
Although domestic events largely dominated investors'
attention, the euro zone is still on the radar. The yield on
Italy's 10-year bonds fell to the lowest in two years at an
auction, amid relief that international lenders reached
agreement this week to reduce Greece's debt by more than 40
"The fact that the bond sales in Europe went well suggest
confidence is beginning to reenter some of the peripheral
nations and that is a good sign," said Peter Cardillo, chief
market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.