U.S. stocks climbed on Wednesday as optimism spread after a jump in Chinese factory growth and comments from Federal Reserve officials suggested interest rates would remain low well into 2010.
Major indexes rose 1 percent or more, and the Dow Jones industrial average was on track for a sixth consecutive day of gains and a fresh 13-month high.
Chinese factory output growth jumped to a 19-month high in October, signaling that the world's third-largest economy has firmly put the worst of the global economic crisis behind it.
Top Fed officials said in a string of speeches on Tuesday that high unemployment and reluctant consumers would likely make a U.S. economic recovery weak and erratic, underscoring belief that economic stimulus will remain intact.
"The market is not budging down, even after the big surge earlier this week, because the Fed keeps reassuring that rates would be low for a considerably period of time," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville, Tennessee.
Shares of United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N), the world's largest package delivery service, gained 1 percent to $57.43 after its chief executive forecast volume to grow next year as the global economy gradually recovers.
The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) was up 68.39 points, or 0.67 percent, at 10,315.36. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) was up 8.97 points, or 0.82 percent, at 1,101.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) was up 20.30 points, or 0.94 percent, at 2,171.38.
Commodity prices also got a boost, with crude oil futures rising 1.3 percent to $80.04 a barrel.
Macy's Inc (M.N) shares tumbled 5.4 percent to $18.38 after the company reported third-quarter results that were stronger-than-expected but gave a gloomy outlook on same store sales for the fourth quarter.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Wednesday he "deeply" believes the United States needs to maintain a strong dollar and said the United States was determined to reduce its budget deficit. But the dollar extended its recent decline to a 15-month low against major currencies in early trading.
Shares of American International Group Inc's (AIG.N) fell 3.7 percent to $36.20 after its chief executive, Robert Benmosche, told the company's board last week that he was considering stepping down, unhappy over constraints imposed by U.S. government overseers, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Toll Brothers Inc (TOL.N) gained 15.8 percent to $21.30, following the homebuilder's release of preliminary results on Tuesday.
Volume and trading are expected to be light throughout the day because of the Veterans Day holiday. The U.S. bond market and government offices will remain closed, while other markets will trade normally.