Wall Street bounced back on Thursday after House Speaker John Boehner said he expects to keep working on a solution to the "fiscal cliff" with President Barack Obama.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 60 points, or 0.45%, to 13,312 at the close. The S&P 500 rose eight points, or 0.55%, to 1,444. The Nasdaq Composite climbed six points, or 0.20%, to 3,050.
Boehner said he hoped to continue to work with Obama, but slammed the president and Senate Democrats for trying to "slow walk" the country over the fiscal cliff. Despite the slow progress, investors have hoped for an agreement soon between policymakers.
Meanwhile, economic data yesterday showed the U.S. economy grew 3.1% in the third quarter, faster than previously estimated, while the number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits increased more than expected in the latest week.
Financial stocks rose the most, while video-game makers fell amid growing concerns about possible links between violent games and tragedies like the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.
Electronic Arts Inc. fell 3.2%, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. fell 2.4% and GameStop Corp. slid 5.2%.
In the retail sector, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. lost 6.5% after it projected full-year profit that trailed analysts’ estimates.
NYSE Euronext was the biggest gainer at the S&P with a 34% jump after IntercontinentalExchange Inc said it would buy the operator of the New York Stock Exchange for $8.2 billion. ICE shares shot up 1.4%.
Rite Aid Corp. soared 16% after the third-largest U.S. drugstore chain forecast better full-year results and returning to a profit in the third quarter.
Herbalife lost 9.6% following news that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman was betting against the company.
Existing home sales surged 5.9% in November, more than expected, and by the fastest monthly pace in three years. However, KB Home slid 6.4% as the company reported higher homebuilding costs and expenses in the fourth quarter.
Accenture fell 2% after revenue from technology consulting declined 3.6% from a year earlier. Merck & Co. slipped 3.4% after saying it won’t seek U.S. marketing approval for a cholesterol drug.
In Asia, shares gained after U.S. economic data signaled the world’s biggest economy is recovering.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.4% to 130 as of 9:50 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average gained 1%, South Korea’s Kospi Index fell 0.3%, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5%.