Stocks jump on investor hopes for a Europe fix

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing with their biggest gains in more than two weeks after European officials pledged to take bolder steps to fight the region’s debt problems.

The finance ministers met in Washington this weekend. They offered few specifics about their next moves, but markets are sensitive to every piece of news coming out of the region.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 272 points, or 2.5 percent, to close at 11,044. It was the Dow’s biggest gain since Sept. 7.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 27, or 2.3 percent, to 1,163. The Nasdaq composite rose 33, or 1.4 percent, to 2,517.

About three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was a bit heavier than average at 4.5 billion shares.