Stocks rose sharply Monday morning amid a rally in global stocks that gave investors hope markets are returning to growth after last week's raucous dips and peaks.

At 11 a.m. on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 133.10 at 7,588.69, climbing for a peak gain of nearly 150 points after the opening bell before easing. Early buying also pushed broad market indexes above Friday's closing levels.Most Asian markets also rose strongly Monday, buoyed by bargain hunting and Wall Street's firm finish last week. Hong Kong's exchange gained nearly 6 percent.

The rebound came on the back of widespread gains Friday and bolstered hopes that a global market sell-off has bottomed out.

However, institutional investors remained on the sidelines, worried about the ability of Asian governments to defend their currencies and tackle pressing economic problems.

Major European markets responded by rallying early Monday.

On the London Stock Exchange, the benchmark Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100-share index was up 48.3 points, or 1 percent, at 4,890.6. Frankfurt's DAX index was up by 3 percent, while in Paris the CAC 40 index was up by 1.1 percent and Milan's index was 1.8 percent higher.

The Hong Kong stock market, which triggered the global market panic when it began plunging two weeks ago amid a speculative attack on its currency, gained 631.33 points or 5.94 percent to end the day at 11,255.11.

China-backed shares and blue-chip conglomerate stocks were the biggest gainers.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange and other financial markets in Japan were closed for a national holiday.

After a slow start, South Korea's market gained 2.9 percent. Dealers said foreign investors resumed buying, taking advantage of the newly raised ceiling on how much stock they can own in a listed company. The limit became 26 percent on Monday, up from 23 percent.

Elsewhere in the region, the overriding sentiment seemed to be relief that the worst is over. Especially heartening was the New York Stock Exchange's performance Friday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60.41 points to 7442.08.

"Long-term investors cannot afford to ignore this region, despite all the concerns that have been raised and the volatility," said Tan Keng Hock, director of Schroder Investment Management (Singapore).

He said the region's growth rate is still higher than the average in the most advanced economies.