Wall Street reverses two-day slump

AAP, with a staff reporter

US stocks have closed higher on renewed confidence that the US Federal Reserve stimulus program will continue.

Stocks also got a lift from a bullish report on German business sentiment and from an earnings report from Dow member Hewlett Packard, which surged 12.3 per cent higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 119.95 points, or 0.86 per cent, to 14,000.57 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 increased 13.18 points, or 0.88 per cent, to close at 1,515.60 points.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 30.33 points, or 0.97 per cent, to close at 3,161.82 points.

Stocks rebounded from two straight days of losses after the German Ifo business climate index notched its strongest gain in two and a half years, hitting its highest level since April 2012.

Market watchers also highlighted comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, who told CNBC that the Fed's loose monetary policy will remain in effect for "a long time."

Analyst Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com called Bullard's comments "an early buying catalyst."

Insurer American International Group late Thursday posted a $4 billion loss, yet reported better-than-expected operating earnings.

Texas Instruments, a semiconductor company, saw its shares rise higher after announcing a 33 per cent increase in its dividend and $5 billion in share buybacks.

General Motors inched up following reports that it plans to invest $7.3 billion in its South Korean unit over the next five years.

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