By and  on December 9, 2011

Europe’s stock markets posted strong gains today as European Unionleaders — with the exception of British prime minister David Cameron —agreed to a tighter, stricter fiscal union to protect the long-termprospects of the euro.

The FSTE MIB in Milan rose 3.4 percent to15,483.91 while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 2.5 percent to 3,172.35. TheDAX in Frankfurt climbed 1.9 percent to 5,986.71 while the FTSE 100 inLondon edged up 0.8 percent to 5,529.21.

The day’s biggestgainers included Carrefour, which rose 4.3 percent to 18.52 euros;Ferragamo, which climbed 3.2 percent to 11.66 euros, and Safilo Group,which advanced 3.6 percent to 5.16 euros. Losing ground were Hugo Boss,which slipped 3.1 percent to 58.75 euros; Benetton Group, which sank 4.3percent to 2.89 euros, and Metro, which retreated 2.7 percent to 30.15euros. The euro gained 0.2 percent against the dollar to $1.34.

During a crisis summit in Brussels, which started Thursday andcontinued today, European leaders agreed to sign up to a “fiscal pact”that asks them to adhere to tighter financial rules and penalties,ensuring that their debt-to-GDP ratios remain under control.

Inan interview with the BBC, Cameron defended his decision to say no totighter fiscal union. “I did the right thing for Britain…We were offereda treaty that didn’t have the right safeguards for Britain. Are webetter off outside the euro? You bet we are,” Cameron said. He calledaspects of the new fiscal pact “invasive” in terms of countries’sovereignty and their ability to set their own budgets and rules.

“We’re not going to be involved in this quite complex treaty with quitetough punishments for countries in Europe that live beyond theirmeans…What we’ve done is squarely in Britain’s national interests,” hesaid.

U.S. markets also gained ground. The S&P Retail Indexwas up 1 percent, or 5.55 points, to 535.83 and the Dow Jones IndustrialAverage had gained 1.4 percent, or 167.60 points, to 12,165.30 inmidafternoon trading.

Among those perking up were, Bebe StoresInc., up 5.3 percent to $8.06; Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., 4.9percent to $10.77; G-III Apparel Group 3.5 percent to $24.86; FossilInc. 3.4 percent to $85.95, and Lululemon Athletica Inc., 3.3 percent to$47.37.

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