Market Recap: Retail Sales Jump, Tech Ticks Higher, Europe Works on Rescue Plan

Markets closed up on Wall Street today: Dow +1.45%, S&P +1.75%, Nasdaq +1.82%, Oil +3.73%, Gold +0.74%.

On the commodities front, Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $87.37 a barrel. Precious metals were also up, with Gold (NYSE:GLD) climbing to $1,680.90 an ounce while Silver (NYSE:SLV) rose 1.67% to $32.20.

Hot Feature: Big Banks Can Agree on at Least One Thing

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Europe. European officials have begun to outline a rescue plan that could include steeper losses for investors in Greek bonds, higher capital requirements for banks, and increased firepower for bailouts and the International Monetary Fund. Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20 began talks in Paris today, discussing how best to combat Europe’s spreading sovereign debt crisis. They may complete the plan at an October 23 summit and present it to a gathering of G-20 chiefs November 3-4.

2) Retail. U.S. retail sales rose more than forecast in September in their biggest monthly advance since February. The 1.1% advance last month followed a 0.3% gain in August that was higher than previously estimated, according to a Commerce Department report issued today in Washington.

3) Tech. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is trading higher as the new iPhone 4S looks set to break all sales records set by previous iPhones. Most analysts are expecting 2 million to 3 million to be sold this weekend alone, while a few venture to say as many as 4 million will be sold. News that Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA), and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) will be holding onto their streaming video service, Hulu, gave each a boost. The media giants finally accepted what the public has known for some time — that the site’s strategic value outweighs any monetary benefits of a sale.

BONUS: Consumer Sentiment Hits a Multi-Decade Low