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Stocks rise on optimism about Europe, earnings

By msnbc.com news services

Wall Street moved higher Wednesday amid optimism about corporate earnings and a meeting of European leaders focused on tackling the region's debt crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped over 160 points at the start of trading, but had recently given up some of that early gain.

According to Reuters, Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament has approved a motion to strengthen the euro zone rescue fund via leveraging on Wednesday, providing Chancellor Angela Merkel with the mandate she needs to negotiate at a key euro summit later in Brussels.

Corporate earnings are in high gear, with plane maker Boeing posting a larger quarterly profit. Also, Boeing's long-delayed 787 Dreamliner takes its first paying passengers later in the day.

Separately, Ford reported a lower third-quarter earnings, but beat estimates. Alan Mulally, Ford’s CEO, spoke with CNBC’s Phil LeBeau about the automaker’s earnings results Wednesday and the company’s plans for issuing a dividend to investors:

In economic news, the Commerce Department said sales of new U.S. homes rose in September after four straight monthly declines, largely because builders cut their prices. Separately, demand for a range of long- lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in September to post the largest increase in six months, cementing views of a step-up in economic growth in the third quarter.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.