Wall Street gained on Wednesday led by technology shares after minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting eased concern about the timing of future interest-rate increases.
The Dow Jones industrial average surged 181 points or 1.11%, to end at 16,437. The S&P 500 gained 20 points or 1.09%, to finish at 1,872. The Nasdaq Composite added 71 points or 1.72%, to close at 4,184.
Fed policymakers were unanimous in wanting to do away with the thresholds they had been using to telegraph a policy tightening, according to minutes of a meeting last month that shed little new light on what might prompt an eventual interest-rate rise.
In the latest snapshot of the economy, Commerce Department data showed that US wholesale inventories rose at a slower pace of 0.5% in February, in line with expectations, after a revised gain of 0.8% in January.
Internet and biotech stocks were among the day's biggest gainers. Facebook Inc. climbed 7.3%, the most in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. LinkedIn Corp., which trades at more than 760 times reported earnings, increased 4.2%, while Twitter Inc. added 1.7%.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. surged 6.9% as shares of biotechnology companies rallied the most in a year.
Alcoa Inc (AA.N) shot up 3.8% after the aluminum producer's earnings, excluding restructuring charges and other special items, exceeded analysts' expectations.
On the negative side, shares of Intuitive Surgical Inc (ISRG.O) slid 6.8% after the company estimated first-quarter revenue well below analysts' expectations mainly due to a 60% drop in sales of its flagship da Vinci robot system.
Shares of Blackstone-backed hotel chain La Quinta Holdings Inc (LQ.N) made a subdued market debut as investors took the view that the stock was fully priced in a crowded IPO market. The stock closed up 0.7% at $17.12.
In Asia, shares rose on Thursday after the Fed minutes eased concern about the timing of interest-rate increases in the world’s largest economy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4% to 139 as of 10:23 a.m. in Hong Kong. Hang Seng Index slid 0.3%. China’s Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.2% and Singapore’s Straits Times Index fell 0.7%.
Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.8%, rising for the first time in five days. South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.1%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5% after the country’s unemployment rate unexpectedly declined in March. New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 1%.