The European Union's statistical office Eurostat said inflation in the 17-nation eurozone on an annual basis came to 2.4 percent, in line with a previously released flash estimate. In Washington, the Department of Labor said first-time unemployment benefit claims rose by 2,000 to 366,000, not a large enough increase to jolt markets.
By close of trading on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 85.33 points to 13,250.11, up 0.65 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index added 31.46 points to 3,062.39, up 1.04 percent. The Standard and Poor's 500 gained 9.98 points to 1,415.51, up 0.71 percent.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,164 stocks advanced and 839 declined on a volume of 2.3 billion shares traded.
The benchmark 10-year treasury fell 6/32 to yield 1.839 percent.
Against the euro, the dollar was $1.2358 from $1.2289 Wednesday. Against the yen, the dollar was 79.33 from 78.98 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei closed at 9,092.76, adding 167.72 points, or 1.88 percent.
In London, the FTSE 100 index reached 5,833.92, a gain of 0.88 points or 0.02 percent.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]