Stocks gain as Europe moves closer to budget pact

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European indexes rose after U.S. markets opened higher. Germany’s DAX closed 1.9 percent higher, France’s CAC 40 rose 2.5 percent and Italy’s FTSE MIB soared 3.4 percent.

Germany and France, the two biggest economies in the euro zone, had hoped to persuade all 27 members of the European Union to change an EU treaty and impose tight fiscal rules on its members. Britain refused to join in because it wanted to be exempt from proposed financial rules.

Among other companies making big moves:

— Pall Corp. surged 8.5 percent after the filtration equipment maker reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that far exceeded analysts’ expectations.

— The Cooper Cos. Inc. leaped nearly 16.8 percent after the eye care company topped expectations with its fiscal fourth-quarter performance.

— Texas Instruments Inc. edged lower after the semiconductor maker said the weak global economy has hurt demand for electronic devices that use its chips.

— General Electric Co. rose 3.3 percent after the manufacturing giant said it will increase its quarterly dividend by 2 cents to 17 cent per share, GE’s fourth increase in two years.

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