But on this day, investors homed in on a couple of remarks coming from Europe.
Most notably, Merkel and French President Francois Hollande released a joint statement saying they were "determined to do everything to protect the eurozone." That followed a similar pledge the day before from Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank.
Merkel's statement was closely watched because Germany will have to sign on if a plan to keep the euro countries together is to succeed. Germany usually foots the bill for bailing out weaker nations.
Jim Millstein, CEO of the Washington financial advisory firm Millstein & Co., said investors shouldn't be surprised if a rescue plan takes a long time.
"They are engaged in a very difficult project, which is to transform a monetary union into a fiscal union, and that is a cumbersome process," Millstein said. "It takes longer than the markets might otherwise like."
But the markets liked what they heard Friday. The Dow obliterated the 13,000 mark, climbing 187.73 points to 13,075.66. In two days, it's climbed 400 points.
The Standard & Poor's 500 jumped 25.95 to 1,385.97. The Nasdaq composite index rose 64.84 to 2,958.09.
Bond trading was also a study in optimism. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.54 percent from 1.44 percent the day before. That means investors are feeling more confident about the economy and more willing to put money in the stock market instead of low-risk government bonds.
Among other stocks making big moves:
Expedia Inc., the online travel company, jumped 20 percent after surpassing analysts' earnings estimates. A rise in hotel bookings offset a decline in airline ticket revenue. The stock surged $9.19 to $54.90.
Starbucks Corp. fell 9.4 percent, losing $4.93 to $47.47. The company cut its outlook for the current quarter, and is considering closing unprofitable stores in Europe.