Optimism about European crisis sends stocks surging
In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 251.50 points, or 2.3%, to 11354.62. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index jumped even more sharply.
Over the weekend, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Prime Minister Angela Merkel announced in Berlin that they would come up with a plan to help stabilize and recapitalize struggling European banks. They gave few specifics but said a definite plan would be ready by a Nov. 3 meeting of the Group of 20.
In another sign of the willingness of European governments to act, the French and Belgian governments stepped in over the weekend to carry out an orderly breakup of Dexia, one of the banks that has encountered the most problems.
Leading indexes were recently up 3.1% in Germany and 2.0% in France.
Last week, the S&P 500 rose on three consecutive days after almost falling into bear-market territory, 20% down from highs reached in spring. The market's latest gains have been helped by a series of U.S. economic indicators that have suggested that the economy is in better shape than many analysts expected.
-- Nathaniel Popper
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