Uncertainty over government debt in Europe has held investors back for weeks. Equities rose across Asia and Europe.
Bank of America said it had reached an $8.5 billion settlement with big investors that purchased bundled securities before the financial crisis hit. Although expensive, investors saw the settlement as positive in the long term as BofA shares rose 2.96 percent.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 72.73 points or 0.6 percent to 12,261.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 10.74 or 0.83 percent to 1,307.41. The Nasdaq composite index added 11.18 or 0.41 percent to 2,740.49.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,092 stocks advanced and 905 declined on a volume of 3.7 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note fell 21/32 to yield 3.114 percent.
The euro rose to $1.4431 from Tuesday's $1.4371. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 80.82 yen from Tuesday's 81.13 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index rose 1.54 percent, 148.28, to 9,797.26.
In London, the FTSE 100 index matched the Japanese index, rising 1.54 percent, 89.07, to 5,855.95.