Stocks soar after ECB vows to protect the euro

Stocks soar after ECB vows to protect the euro

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks soared in the U.S. and Europe today after the European Central Bank president vowed to “do whatever it takes” to preserve the continent’s monetary union.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 234 points to 12,913 in the first hour of trading, following European markets sharply higher. Benchmark indexes in Spain and Italy each jumped 5 percent. France’s stock market surged 3 percent.

The comments from Mario Draghi at an investor conference at the Olympics raised hopes that Europe’s central bank might intervene in markets to bring down the cripplingly high borrowing costs for struggling European countries like Spain and Italy.

After insisting for months that it was up to governments to restore confidence in the euro, Draghi’s pledged that “The ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro.”

In other signs that investors were becoming more confident that Europe’s financial crisis would not spin out of control, the euro surged against the dollar and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose. Borrowing costs for Spain and Italy fell sharply.

In other U.S. trading, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 23 points to 1,361 and the Nasdaq composite index rose 43 points to 2,897, despite more disappointing news from technology companies including the online game maker Zynga.

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