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European Markets

European markets are called to open positive this morning.

Asian Markets

Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index headed for its highest close in a month, as concern about a banking crisis eased after Greece passed austerity measures and German financial institutions pushed toward an agreement to roll over Greek debt holdings.

US Markets

U.S. stocks closed higher for a third day on Wednesday, as bank shares boosted the broader market following Bank of America’ $8.5 billion settlement over mortgage securities claims.

Investors also cheered Greece’ approval of austerity measures on Wednesday, which are meant keep the country from defaulting.

“Some of the clouds that have hung over this market have let up,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist with Key Private Bank. “The Greek issue isn’t resolved, but one forward step was taken and it gets rid of a bit of that uncertainty — and you can say the same thing for BofA.”

The Dow Jones industrial average added 73 points, or 0.6%, to close at 12,261. Bank of America was the biggest gainer on the blue-chip index, with shares rising 3% after the bank announced a multi-billion-dollar settlement.

Why bank stocks are still losers

Other banks stocks followed suit, with shares of Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase all moving higher.

The S&P 500 gained 11 points, or 0.8%, to 1,307; and the Nasdaq Composite added 12 points, or 0.4%, to 2,740

Shares of Visa and Mastercard were the top performers on the S&P 500, shooting up more than 10%, after the Federal Reserve imposed caps on debit card swipe fees that weren’t as high as expected. EBay, which owns PayPal, was up 7%.

Events this week


Thursday – The Labor Department will issue its weekly jobless claims data at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists looking for weekly claims to fall to 42,000.

Also out on Thursday is the Chicago purchasing managers’ index at 9:45 a.m. ET, which is expected to slip to 53.5.

Apollo Group, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, reports after the closing bell on Thursday. Other names reporting include Constellation Brand and dining chain owner Darden Restaurants.

Friday — The ISM’ manufacturing index comes out at 10 a.m. ET, with economists looking for a reading of 51.1 versus May’ reading of 53.5..

Investors will also get May construction spending figures from the Commerce Department as well as the final read on University of Michigan’ May consumer sentiment survey.

The major auto makers such as General Motors, Toyota, and Ford are scheduled to report their May sales figures starting at around 11 a.m. ET.