Stocks rose on Wall Street on Thursday as MasterCard exceeded earnings estimates and several major retailers said sales were better than expected last month.
MasterCard rose 14 per cent, or $19.69, to $159.84 per share in trading after it said earlier in the day it had lost less than expected in the last quarter.
The second-largest credit card firm said profits fell by more than 20 per cent to $239 million. Revenues rose 14 per cent to $1.2 billion on higher fees and growing credit card use worldwide.
Retailers Wal-Mart, Target, Macy's and Limited Brands rose 3 per cent or more after they said discounts lured in more customers than expected in January despite the ongoing recession.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average earned 106.41 points, or 1.3 per cent, to close at 8,063.07, while the broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 13.62 points, or 1.6 per cent, to 845.85, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 31.19 points, or 2.1 per cent, to end at 1,546.24.
The US currency rose against the euro to 78.15 euro cents from 77.81 euro cents on Wednesday. The dollar was also up against the Japanese currency to 91.28 yen from 89.48 yen.