Stock rise after storm damage is less than feared

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are rising after Tropical Storm Irene wound up being less severe than many analysts had anticipated.

The storm ripped through the East Coast and caused widespread flooding. Millions were still without power. However, a consulting firm predicted that insured damages would range between $2 billion and $3 billion, lower than initially estimated.

The New York Stock Exchange and other major U.S. exchanges opened for trading as usual Monday.

Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average is up 170 points, or 1.5 percent, at 11,455. The S&P 500 is up 20, or 1.6 percent, at 1,197. The Nasdaq is up 42, or 1.7 percent, at 2,521.

Greek stocks jumped 15 percent after two major banks agreed to merge to better withstand that nation’s debt crisis.