NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks rose sharply on the first trading day of 2012 as investors returning from the New Year's holiday were encouraged by positive economic news from around the globe.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 224 points, or about 2 percent, at 12,442 at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. The S&P 500 was up 24 points at 1,281, and the Nasdaq rose 50 to 2,655.
In the latest sign of strength in the U.S., manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in six months. Construction spending jumped in November as builders spent more on single-family homes, apartments and remodeling projects.
Germany, Europe's largest economy, reported that the number of people unemployed last year was the lowest in two decades.