Stocks jump on European pledge to help banks

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are rising sharply in the U.S. and Europe after the leaders of France and Germany promised to strengthen Europe's banks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they would form a "comprehensive response" to the debt crisis by the end of October, including a plan to make sure that banks have adequate capital.

Investors were also relieved that troubled Franco-Belgian bank Dexia would be partially nationalized. Dexia needed to be rescued because owns large amounts of government bonds of indebted countries like Greece and Italy.

The Dow was up 271 points, or 2.4 percent, at 11,375 at 11:55 a.m. Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 32, or 2.8 percent, at 1,187. The Nasdaq composite index was up 75, or 3 percent, to 2,554.