U.S. stocks gained slightly on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 up for a fourth session, as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr declared a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 48 points, or 0.38%, to end at 12,837. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added three points, or 0.23%, to finish at 1,391. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 10 points, or 0.34%, to close at 2,927.
Shares rose on the news that a cease-fire was announced to end the flare-up in violence between Israel and the Palestinians. However, market's advance was limited as the Greece's international lenders failed again to reach a deal to release emergency aid to the debt-saddled country.
Investors also remained anxious about the looming fiscal cliff in the U.S. as the policymakers are not expected to get back to negotiations until after today’s Thanksgiving holiday.
Meanwhile, economic data showed manufacturing picked up at its quickest pace in five months in November, while the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's final reading for November showed the consumer sentiment index improved only slightly from the previous month.
St Jude Medical shares plunged 12.2% after an inspection report from health regulators raised new safety concerns about one of the company's leads that are used with implantable defibrillators, analysts said.
International Business Machines rose 0.6% helping the Dow outperform the other indexes. Hewlett-Packard Co climbed 2% a day after the computer and printer maker reported a $5 billion charge related to "accounting improprieties" at Autonomy.
Deere & Co lost 3.7% after the world's largest farm equipment maker reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit.
Salesforce.com Inc jumped 8.8% a day after the business software provider reported results that beat Wall Street's expectations.
In Asia, shares gained on Thursday as an initial survey showed China’s manufacturing is poised to expand this month.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.8% to 122 as of 11:08 a.m. in Tokyo. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 1.1%. South Korea’s Kospi Index gained 0.8%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1.3%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 0.4%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.5%.