US stocks rise on hopes for budget deal, Europe

The stock market finally shook its post-election slump.

Investors seized on hope that Washington will reach a deal on the federal budget and drove stocks to their biggest gain in two months. A pair of strong corporate earnings reports also helped.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 207 points, or 1.7 percent. Since President Barack Obama and a divided Congress were returned to power Nov. 6, the Dow had fallen six out of eight days and slid a total of 650 points.

While Obama and Republicans appear at odds on whether tax rates for the wealthiest Americans should rise, lawmakers suggested over the weekend that progress is possible to avoid a “fiscal cliff.”

The Dow finished up 207.65 points at 12,795.96. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 27.01 points, or 2 percent, to 1,386.89. The Nasdaq composite average gained 62.94, or 2.2 percent, to 2,916.07.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were lifted by Apple, which had its biggest one-day gain since April. It rose $38.05, or 7.2 percent, to $565.73. Some analysts cast doubt on a sell-off that had pushed the stock down more than 20 percent from its recent peak.

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