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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

US Stocks get merger, earnings boost (ext)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks ended sharply higher Monday, as investors welcomed two merger announcements and strong earnings from Caterpillar.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) gained 105 points, or 0.9%, the S&P 500 (SPX) rose 16 points, or 1.3%, and the Nasdaq composite (COMP) 62 points, or 2.4%.

Europe's top leaders said Sunday that they were getting closer to finalizing a plan to solve the continent's debt crisis. But with a final agreement not expected before Wednesday, the actual details remained under wraps.

"It seems that European leaders are getting down to the brass tack of a resolution, but there's still nothing to write home about," said Brian Battle, vice president at Performance Trust Capital Partners. "Investors will be holding tight until Wednesday."

The dollar fell against the euro, British pound, and the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery gained $3.87 to settle at $91.27 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery rose $16.20 to settle at $1,652.30 an ounce.

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