Stocks soar on European pledge to help banks

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are closing sharply higher after the leaders of France and Germany promised to strengthen European banks.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 330 points, led by Bank of America Corp. The euro rose against the dollar.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy said they would finalize a "comprehensive response" to the debt crisis by the end of the month.

The Dow shot up 330 points, or 3 percent, to close at 11,433.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 39, or 3.4 percent, to 1,195. The Nasdaq composite index rose 87, or 3.5 percent, to 2,566.

Ten stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was light at 3.8 billion.

Bond trading was closed for the Columbus Day holiday.