NEW YORK (AP) — Trading was light Thursday, but the major stock indexes made strong gains. Better news on home sales and improved prospects for job growth sent the Dow to a 135 point gain. It’ll begin the last trading day of 2011 at 12,294. The S&P is at 1,263 after a 13-point gain, while the Nasdaq begins the day at 2,614, after adding 24 points.

BANGKOK (AP) — Global stock markets are mixed today as a generally down trading year comes to an end. Major Asian indexes rebounded after several straight losing sessions, but markets in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong ended the year with double-digit losses. European shares have been steady or slightly lower. U.S. stock futures suggest a lower opening on Wall Street.

MADRID (AP) — Spain is getting set for more austerity measures. The new conservative prime minister is presiding over a Cabinet meeting today that’s expected to approve a painful series of spending freezes and other reforms. With Spain’s unemployment rate at 21.5 percent, the government is also trying to find a way to resuscitate an economy expected to sink back into recession.

SINGAPORE (AP) — Relatively upbeat assessments of where the U.S. economy is headed are keeping oil prices hovering near $100 a barrel. Benchmark crude for February delivery had fallen 28 cents to $99.37 a barrel by late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

UNDATED (AP) — It’s a light day for economic reports, but the Philadelphia Fed is due to release its regional manufacturing survey. The Chicago purchasing managers’ report is also expected today.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.