US stocks leap on first day of new year

NEW YORK (AP) ? Stocks are jumping higher on the first trading day of 2012.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 200 points, or 1.7 percent, to 12,423 in the first minutes of trading Tuesday. The S&P 500 rose 23, or 1.8 percent, to 1,280. The Nasdaq rose 55, or 2.1 percent, to 2,660.

Solid economic news, notably out of China, is helping mute concerns over the European debt crisis.

Europe’s debt woes will likely remain the main catalyst for markets over the coming. In the absence of fresh bad news out of Europe, trading in 2012 got off to a solid start.

Surveys showing that China and India may be picking up momentum also sent stocks higher in Europe and Asia. An index measuring manufacturing in China rose in December.