Wall Street rose, stemming a three-day slide, as the latest exports data from China and Germany surpassed expectations, bolstering optimism about the economic recovery.
China's exports climbed 5.1 percent in July from a year ago, well above the 2 percent increase predicted in a Bloomberg News survey and also comfortably above the 3 percent forecast in a Reuters poll. It is a welcome sign of strength in the world's second-largest economy.
That was good news for commodities, too, boosting prices of copper, platinum, gold and silver.
"China is stabilising and growing," Stephen Wood, the New York-based chief market strategist who helps oversee about $US237 billion at Russell Investments, told Bloomberg News. "Some of the data is confirming that softer landing."
The latest US economic data was also encouraging, as weekly jobless claims rose less than expected to 333,000 last week.
American retailers offered further reasons for cautious optimism.
Ten of the 11 retailers that still release monthly sales figures for stores open at least a year reported a combined 4.2 percent gain, compared to the 4.4 percent increase analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters.
In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.27 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.48 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.52 percent. Gains in shares of Microsoft, last up 2.4 percent, and Caterpillar, last up 2.3 percent, propelled the Dow higher.
Better-than-expected earnings helped, too. Shares of Tesla Motors soared, last up 14.6 percent, after the maker of electric cars reported a surprise quarterly profit yesterday.
Also benefiting from a solid earnings report card was Groupon, boosting its shares 22.7 percent.
In Europe, equities advanced. The UK's FTSE 100 Index rose 0.28 percent, France's CAC 40 gained 0.6 percent, while Germany's DAX added 0.7 percent.
Earnings of Deutsche Telecom and Commerzbank beat expectations, helping to bolster their respective shares and overall sentiment.
So far in Europe's earnings season, 56 percent of STOXX Europe 600 firms have met or beaten profit forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
More good news from Germany, Europe's largest economy, came in the form of export data.
German exports rose 0.6 percent in June, after declining a revised 2 percent in May which was less than originally estimated.
"Against the background of a gradually recovering euro area, German trade is expected to gain impetus in the summer months," Stefan Kipar, an economist at BayernLB in Munich, told Bloomberg News.