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Stocks rise as markets await central bank help

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks closed up Friday as investors anticipate action by central banks to head off a deeper European debt crisis.

The European Central Bank president said the bank would continue its "crucial role" of making sure the financial system has enough cash.

The comment wouldn't normally arouse interest, but it followed a report Thursday from Reuters that central banks were ready to act in concert to stem any fallout from elections in Greece this weekend.

All eyes are on Greece, where an election on Sunday could determine whether the country stays within the euro currency union. Analysts are concerned about what will happen if a party opposed to the terms of the country's financial bailout takes control of the government. If Greece leaves the euro, many fear it could imperil Spain, Italy and other countries and further weaken the region's hobbled banks.

The Dow Jones industrial ended the day at 12,767, a gain of 115 points. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 14 points to 1,343. The Nasdaq composite rose 36 to 2,873.

"There's a growing sense of optimism," said Peter Tuz, a money manager, at Chase Investment Counsel, which runs mutual funds. "The betting now is that the 'let's stay in the euro' segment of the population will win." Investors are also reassured by reports that central banks have drawn up contingency plans.

Tuz, however, remains worried about the fallout from Greece leaving the euro. "There's just too much uncertainty about what would happen, too many unknowns."