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Wall Street rallies on hopes for a Europe fix

Wall Street is staging a strong rally on the first day of the last week of the quarter. Two of the three major indicators are enjoying a smooth ride upward, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which is up more than 180 points in afternoon trading.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq, however, is struggling to stay in positive territory.  Apple, the biggest Nasdaq stock by market capitalization, is down nearly 2 percent. Click here to see top market movers.

The broader market apparently is being buoyed by optimism that European finance ministers will take appropriate steps to prop up the region's unstable economies.

According to The Associated Press:

European officials pledged over the weekend to take bolder steps to fight Europe's debt problems, which threaten to slow the global economy. The finance ministers offered few specifics about their next steps, but markets are sensitive to every piece of news coming out of the region.  

"Perhaps it's just the fact that the talks didn't break down," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.  

European leaders have not been able to agree on the next steps they will take. German leaders want banks and private institutions that hold Greek bonds to take a bigger loss on those holdings to reduce Greece's debt burden. European officials have also talked about increasing the size of Europe's $595 billion rescue fund by allowing it to take loans from the European Central Bank.

In afternoon trading, the Dow is up 182.62 points, or 1.7 percent, to 10,954.10. The broader S&P 500 advanced 9.23, or 0.81 percent, to 1,145.66. The Nasdaq is down, stumbling 9.85 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,473.38.

In company news, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway said Monday it will launch a share buyback program -- a rare move for the conglomerate holding company. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway's Class B shares rose 6.3 percent, the most of any stock in the S&P 500.

"It should serve to remind investors that investing is a long-term pursuit," Ablin told AP. "Buffett is as good an indicator for long-term investing as any."

Last week, the Dow tumbled 6.4 percent, its biggest drop since the week ended Oct. 10, 2008 -- the height of the financial crisis.

The market header lower earlier in trading day Monday when the government announced  that sales of new homes in the U.S. fell to a six-month low.

Boeing advanced 3.9 percent after the company delivered its first 787 aircraft to Japan's All Nippon Airways, albeit three years behind schedule. An analyst said the company's earnings should rise for the next few years if the company is able to maintain steady production.