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  • DJIA up 339 (+2.9%) to 12,208
  • S&P 500 up 42 (+3.4%) to 1,284
  • Nasdaq up 87 (+3.3%) to 2,738

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Nikkei up 2%
  • Hang Seng up 3.3%
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.3%.
  • FTSE-100 up 2.8%.
  • DAX-30 up 4.8%.

Stock indexes end up sharply but do rein in the late-day surge in choppy action during the final minutes of trading. Still, averages close up some 3%, with the Dow ending above 12,000 for the first time since August.

Sharp gains followed news that European leaders agreed to increase a bailout fund to contain the continent's debt crisis. Also, the U.S. economy grew at a faster clip than economists had predicted, while consumer spending surged.

Global stocks jumped after European officials announced a plan under which private investors will take a 50% write-down on their holdings of Greek debt, the firepower of the eurozone bailout fund will be increased to around $1.4 trillion and European banks will be recapitalized.

Some analysts say the bailout fund possibly may need to be enlarged even more. They note the mixed stock reaction that followed the U.S.'s TARP bank debt plan a few years ago.

Traders were encouraged by a new government report that Q3 U.S. gross domestic product grew by a 2.5% annual rate, nearly double the 1.3% rate of growth in the second quarter and way ahead of Q1's 0.4% increase. Economists, however, were looking for Q3 growth to reach 2.8%, according to a MarketWatch poll. Consumer spending was the strongest since the Q4 2010, rising at a 2.4% rate after slowing to a 0.7% in Q2, according to the Commerce Department.

In addition, initial jobless claims for the week ended Oct. 22 fell by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 402,000, the Labor Department said. Economists were looking for a gain to 405,000, MarketWatch reported. The rolling four-week average, however, inched higher to 405,500.

In real estate, pending home sales slipped 4.6% last month, according to data released from the National Association of Realtors.

In company news:

Shares of Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) are higher after Reuters reported that the U.S. oil major found hydrocarbons off the coast of Vietnam. Another firm prospecting near the site is quoted in the report as saying the discovery was "a potentially significant find."

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) shares are higher after The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital reported that a patent infringement trial between the two tech industry giants will not happen this year. The judge presiding over the litigation proposed a trial plan to attorneys, saying the trial will not happen in 2011, the report said.

MF Global (MF) shares are higher following a WSJ report that the company hired investment bankers to explore a possible sale of the company.

Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) is higher after Great Plains Coca-Cola Bottling Company announced today that it has signed an agreement to be acquired by the company for $360 million. Great Plains is the fifth-largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, with territories in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) shares are higher after the company said in a statement today that the European Commission had approved the company's pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, Prevenar 13.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) is up after it reported Q2 EPS of $0.61 on revenue of $670 million. Analysts looked for EPS of $0.37 on revenue of $674.46 million.

ADRs of AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) are higher as the drug maker reports Q3 EPS of $1.71 and revenue of $8.21 billion. Analysts looked for EPS of $1.68 on revenue of $8.25 billion. For its outlook, the company says it now sees FY EPS of $7.20- 7.40, above previous guidance of $7.05-$7.35 and straddling the Street view of $7.31.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) BAC leading market advance after European debt news.

(+) C leading market advance after European debt news.

(+) XOM beats with earnings, sets buyback.

(+) FIO gains despite analyst downgrade.

(+) SWI beats with earnings, guides in line to higher.

(+) AKAM continues evening jump that followed earnings.

(+) PEIX swings to gain on stronger sales.

(+) MF reportedly considering sale.

(+) LCC beats with earnings, revenue meets.

(+) AZN earnings beat, revenue misses.

(+) BMY beats with Q3, guides in line.

(+) PFE beats with earnings.

(+) CSCO upgraded.

(+) POT beats with revenue, reports EPS in line.

(+) CTXS beats with results, guidance.

(+) PG results mixed, guidance straddles Street view.

(+) LLL beats with earnings, sets mixed guidance.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) TQNT continues evening drop that followed earnings disappointment.

(-) SYMC continues evening drop; stock reversed last night, results in line.

(-) AVP misses with results.

(-) DTG loses Hertz offer.

(-) AGNC prices shares.

Source: Stocks Jump On Europe's Debt Help