Stocks surge, boosted by American shoppers, European leaders
After a weeklong losing streak, stocks surged Monday after the opening bell thanks to revved-up shopping over the Thanksgiving weekend and new hope that Europe may take meaningful steps to contain its debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 320 points before retreating somewhat. It was recently trading at 11,532, up about 275 points, or 2.4%. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 3.1% after falling for seven straight days.
Declines in recent weeks had brought stock indexes close to their 2011 lows. The market has struggled largely due to fears that European leaders would not be able to deal with the continent's spreading debt crisis. But Monday brought news that Germany and France are drawing up plans that would commit European Union members to greater fiscal discipline.
This is far from the first time that such rumors have pushed markets up, only to not pan out. Still, key indexes jumped 4.6% in Germany and 5% in France.
In the U.S., the National Retail Federation said Sunday that American shoppers spent 16% more in stores and online over the four-day holiday weekend than they did last year. That has generated some hope that consumers may help the economy get going again.
-- Nathaniel Popper in New York
Photo: Nasdaq's MarketSite Tower in New York's Times Square. Credit: Spencer Platt / Getty Images