Stocks open strong on hopes for Europe, earnings

Stocks are shooting higher after the market opened on comforting news from Europe and an optimistic outlook from corporate bellwether Alcoa.

European markets rose sharply Tuesday after Fitch Ratings said it will not downgrade France this year. A downgrade for France could scuttle the region’s bailout efforts. The bailout fund relies on the sterling credit ratings of France and Germany to borrow at affordable rates.

Alcoa kicked off the U.S. corporate earnings season late Monday. The aluminum producer forecast that global demand will improve in 2012.

The Dow is up 95 points, or 0.8 percent, at 12,487 shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 index is up 12, or 1 percent, at 1,292. The Nasdaq is up 30, or 1.1 percent, at 2,706.