Stocks rallied this morning in spite of a bounce in the U.S. dollar. Investors cheered a stronger export number and smaller deficit figures for October. The market managed to shrug off a slightly disappointing weekly initial jobless claims number that came in higher than expected at 474,000. RealtyTrac also offered some positive data on the foreclosure front. Foreclosures fell 8% in November but they remain extremely elevated at more than 300,000 new foreclosure filings for the month.

Asian markets were mixed. The Japanese NIKKEI fell 1.4% posting its third loss in a row. The Hong Kong Hang Seng inched down 0.19% marking its fifth loss in a row. The Chinese Shanghai index bounced with a +0.45% gain after the government extended recent incentives to fuel domestic demand. Meanwhile European markets were rebounding across the board snapping a three-day losing streak. Banks helped lead the rebound as Dubai worries ebbed. The English FTSE rose 0.78%. Both the German DAX and the French CAC-40 rose 1.0%.

Europe's strength in the banking sector did not translate to gains here in the U.S. The BIX and BKX banking indices are under performing the broader markets. Goldman Sachs (GS) made headlines this morning when the company caved into peer pressure to not pay any outrageous year-end bonuses. Instead GS will pay bonuses in company stock that can't be sold for five years.

The bounce in the U.S. dollar is weighing on commodities. Crude oil is off about 60 cents and trading near $70.00 a barrel. Copper and silver are trading lower but gold has bucking the trend with a nearly $6 gain to $1,126 an ounce.

Overall the market's tone is positive. Healthcare stocks are the best performers with a 3.2% gain in the HMO index. Railroads and retailers are both up 1.4%. Oil service stocks are bouncing in spite of crude oil's decline. The SOX semiconductor index is extending its gains to nine days in a row. The S&P 500 is up about 7 points and trading just north of the 1100 mark. The NASDAQ composite is up just over 10 points and near 2195. The Dow Industrials are up 60 points at 10,397. The small cap Russell 2000 index is under performing the market with a fractional decline near 597.

Chart of the S&P 500:

Chart of the NASDAQ:

Chart of the Dow Industrials:

Chart of the Russell 2000 index: