Stocks rose Friday, with the Dow Jones industrial average climbing above 13,000 for the first time since May, amid speculation European policymakers may take steps to ease the debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 187.73, or 1.46%, at 13,075.66; the S&P 500 rose 25.95, or 1.91%, closing at 1,385.97; and the Nasdaq composite was up 64.84, or 2.24%, to close at 2,958.09. All numbers are preliminary.
Stocks extended gains after two European Central Bank officials said ECB President Mario Draghi will hold talks with Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann in an effort to overcome the biggest stumbling block to a new raft of measures including bond purchases.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said their countries are “bound by the deepest duty” to keep the eurozone intact and they will do “everything” necessary to protect the single currency.
Having secured the backing of governments in Spain, France and Germany, Mr. Draghi is now seeking to win over ECB policymakers for a multipronged approach to reduce bond yields in countries such as Spain and Italy, the officials said on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. The proposal involves Europe’s rescue funds buying government bonds on the primary market, flanked by ECB purchases on the secondary market to ensure transmission of its record-low interest rates, the officials said.
In the U.S., data showed that the economy expanded at a slower pace in the second quarter as a softening job market prompted Americans to curb spending. Consumer confidence in July dropped to the lowest this year, according to a separate report.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 1.3% Friday and posted an eighth weekly advance. The euro has strengthened 1.2% this week, the most since February. It gained as much as 0.9% Friday to $1.239, the highest since July 6.