Wall Street gained on Tuesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index registering its biggest gain of the year, as a strong December retail sales reading and corporate merger activity eased concerns that economic growth might be slowing.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 116 points or 0.71%, to 16,374, the S&P 500 gained 20 points or 1.08%, to 1,839, and the Nasdaq Composite added 70 points, or 1.69%, to 4,183.
Google (GOOG.O) surged 2.4%, giving a large boost to the outperforming Nasdaq, a day after the company announced plans to acquire Nest Labs Inc.
Economic data showed core US retail sales increased 0.7% in December from the previous month, flying past the 0.3% gain economists had expected.
Fourth-quarter economic growth prospects were further boosted by a report showing retail inventories, excluding autos, increased 0.6% in November.
In company news, shares of General Motors (GM.N) jumped 3% in extended trading after the company said it will pay the first quarterly dividend on its common stock in almost six years.
Intel Corp (INTC.O) shares rose 4% in regular trade after JP Morgan upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "neutral".
Electric car maker Tesla (TSLA.O) said deliveries of its Model S sedan in the fourth quarter blew past its forecast, sending shares up 15.7%.
In the financial sector, both JP Morgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) posted earnings that beat expectations. However, shares of both banks rose less than 0.1%.
Both GameStop Corp (GME.N) and Stratasys Ltd (SSYS.O) slumped after giving outlooks that were weaker than expected. GameStop lost 19.9%, while 3D printer maker Stratasys slid 8.2%.
In contrast, Intuitive Surgical (ISRG.O) advanced 6.8% after the surgical equipment maker gave a strong fourth-quarter outlook.
Time Warner Cable Inc. climbed 2.7% after rejecting an acquisition offer from Charter Communications Inc.
In Asia, shares gained on Wednesday in midsession after US retail sales topped estimates and the World Bank raised its global growth forecast.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.3% to 139 as of 12:29 p.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix (TPX) index jumped 1.4% after the yen slipped 1.2% against the dollar yesterday.
South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.2%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.4% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index climbed 0.9%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) gained 0.3% and China’s Shanghai Composite slid 0.6%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index added 0.7% and Taiwan’s Taiex index rose 0.8%.