Investing.com - U.S. stocks opened solidly higher Friday as hopes for progress on a financial aid deal for Greece lifted equity sentiment.
Trade volumes were expected to remain light, with U.S. markets closing early for Thanksgiving weekend.
At the open the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.48%, the S&P 500 traded higher by 0.49 , while the tech heavy Nasdaq added 0.63%.
Market sentiment improved amid growing optimism that Greece's lenders are nearing an agreement to tackle the country's debt pile, as talks between European Union leaders continued in Brussels for a second consecutive day.
Talks between finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund ended without a deal on Tuesday, amid disagreements on how best to reduce the country’s debt to sustainable levels.
Investor confidence also strengthened after the German Institute for Economic Research said that its index of business confidence improved to 101.4 in November from a reading of 100.0 the previous month, beating expectations for a decline to 99.5.
The tech sector was expected to be active, amid rising optimism around Research in Motion's soon-to-be-launched BlackBerry 10 devices that will vie against Apple's iPhone and Android-based smartphones. Research in Motion shares skyrocketed 15.20% in pre-market trade.
Retailers were also likely to be in focus, after the Indian joint venture of Wal-Mart Stores suspended its chief financial officer and other employees, as it investigates alleged violations of U.S. anti-bribery laws.
Elsewhere, Pfizer said it cut the Canadian price of its Viagra erectile dysfunction drug after the Supreme Court of Canada opened the door to sales of generic versions of the drug.
In the energy sector, General Electric was said to be in talks to acquire Italian defense company Avio from buyout firm Cinven, which rejected a previous offer from two private-equity funds. The news sent shares in General Electric up 0.29% pre-market.
Other stocks in focus included United Natural Foods, due to post third-quarter results before the start of the U.S. trading session.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were solidly higher. The EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.47%, France’s CAC 40 advanced 0.48%, Germany's DAX climbed 0.63%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.46%.
U.S. trade is in slow, half session mode due to the Thanksgiving holiday.