U.S. stock market indexes advanced in midday trading Friday, despite news that the country's top two automakers have lost billions of dollars.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ all rose more than 2 percent.

European stock markets closed sharply higher.  London's Financial Times 100 index rose almost 2.7 percent (115 points) to end at 4,387.  The CAC-40 in Paris gained 2.4 percent (82 points) to close at 3,469.  And the DAX in Frankfurt gained 2.6 percent (125 points) to finish at 4,938.

In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei index fell 3.5 percent (316 points) to close at 8,583.  In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng rose 3.3 percent (453 points) to close at 14,243.

The price of gold rose more than $2 to trade at $734.95 cents an ounce. 

The dollar was higher against the yen and lower against the euro.