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Optimism in Europe lifts stock market

Stocks rose broadly yesterday on hopes that Europe was moving closer to resolving its debt crisis.

Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel said her country would do whatever it could to help Greece regain investors' confidence. Greece's finance minister also said that country would receive the next round of bailout loans in time to avoid a default.

Greece was at risk of running out of money by mid-October if it did not receive the funds.

"Europeans are finally starting to understand that they need to act with some force to get ahead of the European debt crisis," said John Briggs, a fixed-income strategist at RBS.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 146.83 points, or 1.33 percent, to close at 11,190.69. It had been up as many as 325 points earlier. The Dow has added 419 points over the last two days, making up more than half of its 737-point plunge last week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12.43, or 1.07 percent, to 1,175.38. Materials stocks led the S&P higher. Specialty metals company Allegheny Technologies Inc. rose 7.35 percent, the most in the index.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 30.14, or 1.20 percent, to 2,546.83.

The gains were broad. Five stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. All 10 company groups that make up the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose. Volume was slightly higher than average at 4.9 billion shares.

Small companies rose more than larger ones, a sign that investors were moving money into riskier investments. The Russell 2000 index, a benchmark for small-cap stocks, rose 2.2 percent.

European markets also closed sharply higher. Germany's DAX rose 5.3 percent, France's CAC-40 5.7 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 4 percent.

The encouraging signs from Europe also sent commodities prices higher. Oil soared 5.3 percent, copper 4.8 percent. That helped the stocks of energy producers and mining companies. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rose 3.1 percent and Exxon Mobil Corp. rose 1.7 percent. Gold rose 3.6 percent, its first gain in a week.

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