The Dow Jones industrial average rose 56.22 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 17,958.73, the S&P 500 gained 9.29 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 2,091.19 and the Nasdaq Composite added 23.74 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 4,974.57.
The day’s gains were broad, with eight of the S&P 500’s 10 industry sectors up on the day. The market extended its gains in afternoon trading, putting the S&P 500 about 1.3 per cent away from its record close.
Equities have struggled for direction of late, with investors seeing limited upside potential in equities, but also few alternatives for yield. Many investors are looking ahead to the first-quarter earnings season for market guidance.
Among early reporters, Alcoa fell 3.3 per cent to $13.22 a day after it reported revenue that missed expectations.
Bed Bath & Beyond, which also reported weaker-than-expected results late on Wednesday, fell 5.4 per cent to $73.46.
The energy sector climbed 1.5 per cent on the back of a 1.8 per cent rise in Brent crude, which rebounded from a drop of six per cent on Wednesday. Continued uncertainty about an agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme also provided a lift. ConocoPhillips rose 3.4 per cent to $67.