- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NEW YORK — The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed back above 10,000 on hopes that the European Union will help Greece manage its growing debt burden.

The Dow was up more than 214 points Tuesday after closing below 10,000 on Monday for the first time in three months.

Global markets bounced back on reports that European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet is changing his travel schedule to attend a meeting of EU officials on Thursday. The move is raising hopes that policymakers will take bigger steps to contain troubles in Greece. The county is struggling with big budget gaps and is seeing demand fall for its debt.

Though Greece’s economy is small, investors are concerned that troubles there would spill into other countries. World stock markets have been tumbling in recent weeks on concerns that debt problems would spread. Investors are also concerned by budget gaps in Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and the uncertainty has undermined Europe’s common currency, the euro.

The European debt problems are the latest obstacle for investors, who have put a robust 10-month rally on hold. Stocks started to retreat in mid-January after China said it would try to control its economy to avoid speculative bubbles. Things got worse when President Obama announced plans to curb trading by large financial institutions.

On Tuesday, Greece took its latest steps to calm markets, pledging to increase retirement ages, raise fuel taxes and accelerate reforms. However, a strike over the government’s new austerity measures is still expected to proceed on Wednesday.

“There’s some euphoria that maybe it’s not going to be blowing up,” said Erik Davidson, director of investments for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Carmel, Calif., referring to easing fears over Greece.

In midday trading, the Dow rose 214.11, or 2.2 percent, to 10,122.50. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 20.82, or 2 percent, to 1,077.56, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 36.72, or 1.7 percent, to 2,162.77.

Stocks have become more volatile in recent weeks as concerns grow about the strength and sustainability of a global economic recovery. The Dow, which fell almost 104 points Monday, has posted triple-digit moves in 10 of the past 16 trading days. The market has retreated 7.6 percent since hitting a 15-month high in the middle of January.

The dollar fell against the euro, while gold rose.

Crude oil rose 98 cents to $72.87 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

In corporate earnings, Coca-Cola Co. reported fourth-quarter profit that matched analysts expectations. Its revenue topped forecasts as sales rose globally. Coca-Cola rose $2.03, or 3.9 percent, to $54.68.

At midday, about four stocks have risen for every one that has fallen on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 514 million shares compared with 416.5 million shares traded at the same point Monday.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 7.92, or 1.4 percent, to 594.41.

In afternoon trading, Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX index rose 0.2 percent, and France’s CAC-40 advanced 0.2 percent. Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei stock average fell 0.2 percent.

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