Wall Street gained for the first time in three days on Wednesday, led by drugmakers, while a Supreme Court ruling lifted the shares of major broadcasters.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 49 points or 0.29%, to 16,868. The S&P 500 gained 10 points or 0.49%, to 1,960. The Nasdaq Composite added 29 points or 0.68%, to 4,380.
Shares slipped at the open after the economic data, but investors quickly moved on. The US economy contracted in the first quarter at an annual rate of 2.9%, the sharpest drop in five years.
In corporate news, shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) shot up 3% a day after the drugmaker said a late-stage trial testing its immunotherapy nivolumab in advanced melanoma patients was halted early after it was determined that the drug was likely to prolong survival.
Pfizer (PFE.N) gained 1.7%, Merck & Co. (MRK.N) rose 1.6%, and the S&P healthcare index .SPXHC ended 1.1%.
Shares of CBS (CBS.N) jumped 6.2% after the US Supreme Court ruled that online TV startup Aereo Inc violates copyright law by using tiny antennas to provide subscribers with broadcast network content via the Internet.
Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) shares rose 1.1%. The Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), which owns ABC News, gained 1.5%.
Monsanto Co (MON.N) climbed 5.1% after the world's largest seed company raised the low end of its full-year outlook and said it plans to offer debt to help finance a $10 billion stock buyback.
In deal news, Medical Action Industries (MDCI.O) surged 93.5% on its heaviest one-day volume ever after Owens & Minor Inc (OMI.N) agreed to buy the supplier of disposable medical products for about $208 million. Owens rose 1.5%.
On the downside, shares of refiners declined after U.S. officials allowed energy companies to export light crude oil, or condensate, after it has been minimally processed.
Valero Energy (VLO.N) was down 8.3%, while Marathon Petroleum (MPC.N) fell 6.3%.
In Asia, shares gained on Thursday in morning trade, led by technology shares, amid optimism the US economy is emerging from a worse-than-estimated contraction last quarter.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5% to 145 as of 10:56 a.m. in Tokyo. Japan’s Topix index and South Korea’s Kospi index both gained 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.7%, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index advanced 0.3%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5%, while the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.2%. Taiwan’s Taiex index climbed 0.5% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.3%.