Market Recap: Markets Rally as Italy and Greece Move Forward With New Governments

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +2.19%, S&P +1.95%, Nasdaq +2.04%, Oil +1.32%, Gold +1.69%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $99.07 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,789.30 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 1.61% to settle at $34.81.

Hot Feature: Spanish Economy Flatlined in Third Quarter.

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Italy. Italy’s Senate today approved debt-reduction measures intended to shore up investor confidence and pave the way for a new interim government that may be led by former European Union Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. The Chamber of Deputies will give final approval of the legislation tomorrow, after which Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will formally tender his resignation.

2) Greece. Greece swore in a new prime minister, Lucas Papademos, early Friday. Papademos, a former banker and European Central Bank vice president, will head the new national unity government tasked with pushing through austerity measures that will secure further bailout payments from the so-called troika, consisting of the European Union, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund. The controversial austerity measures will put Greece on track to get its next 8 billion-euro installment of aid, allowing it to pay its bills next month and avoid immediate default. 

3) Companies. Disney (NYSE:DIS) reported record earnings after closing bell on Thursday, posting a 21% gain in net income for the 2011 fiscal year. Shares of Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) declined after the department store chain reported an increase in quarterly earnings after close on Thursday, though lowering their full-year outlook, while shares of Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) rose after the chip maker posted a third-quarter profit after close yesterday that doubled from the year earlier period.

BONUS: Consumer Sentiment Defies Scary EU Feelings.

More from The Cheat Sheet