Stocks soar after big holiday shopping weekend

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are opening sharply higher after a strong start to the U.S. holiday shopping season and signs that Europe is getting its debt crisis under control.

Initial reports show a record number of shoppers hit the mall or bought gifts online over the holiday weekend.

Investors are also hoping that recent deterioration in Europe’s debt crisis will get the region’s leaders to agree on a package of measures that can ease market concerns over whether the euro currency itself can survive.

The Dow Jones industrial average is up 274 points, or 2.4 percent, at 11,506 shortly after the opening bell Monday.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 29, or 2.6 percent, at 1,188. The Nasdaq composite is up 70, or 2.9 percent, at 2,512.