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Who's Afraid of the Fiscal Cliff? Stocks Soar

Monday's data provided some of the impetus for the rally. The National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, by 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.79 million from a downwardly revised 4.69 million in September.

Sales were 10.9% above the 4.32 million-unit level in October 2011.

Economists, on average, expected an annual rate of 4.75 million for existing home sales in October.

The National Association of Home Builders' housing market index rose to a level of 46, which was better than the unchanged level of 41 predicted by economists.

"Overall, a strong reading on the housing market," said Ian Lyngen, a senior rates strategist at CRT.

The FTSE 100 in London closed up by 2.36%, while the DAX in Germany finished higher by 2.49%. Eurozone finance ministers are scheduled to hold a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday about extending more financial aid to Greece.

Japan's Nikkei average finished higher by 1.43% Monday amid rising anticipation of an opposition party victory in December, which is expected to result in the push for monetary easing. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled up 0.49%.

Gold for December delivery rose $19.70 to settle at $1,734.40 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while January crude oil contracts finished up $2.36 at $89.28.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 11/32, boosting the yield to 1.615%. The dollar was down 0.43%, according to the U.S. dollar index .

In corporate news, shares of Lowe's closed up 6.2% after the home improvement products retailer posted third-quarter results that exceeded forecasts as revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 1.8%.

Cisco Systems (CSCO), the networking giant, announced Sunday it was buying privately held cloud computing company Meraki for $1.2 billion. Cisco's stock rose 1.7%.

Global orthopedic medical device company Wright Medical Group (WMGI) struck a deal to buy BioMimetic Therapeutics ( BMTI ) for roughly about $190 million in cash and stock to boost growth opportunities in Wright's extremities business. Wright shares slid 1.7%, while BioMimetic shares soared 77.2%.

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