In the first week of the first quarter corporate reporting season, stocks jumped with the Dow Jones industrial average adding 128.78 points or 0.88 percent to 14,802.24.
Only retailer Walmart, insurance firm Travelers, oil giant Exxon Mobile Corp. and aluminum producer Alcoa lost value.
On the other end of the spectrum, shares of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., rose 2.92 percent. Pfizer Inc. shares gained 2.78 percent and Cisco Systems, Intel Corp., Microsoft and General Electric all saw gains above 2 percent.
Friday's disappointing jobs report appears forgotten, the slow recovery taking a back seat to a burst of enthusiasm over equities that began the first of the year.
As markets closed, the Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 19.12 points or 1.22 percent to 1,587.73. The tech-dominated Nasdaq composite index gained 59.39 points or 1.83 percent to 3,297.25.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,328 stocks advanced and 745 declined on a volume of 3.4 billion shares traded.
The 10-year U.S. treasury note fell 15/32 to yield 1.807 percent.
Against the dollar, the euro was lower at $1.3068 from Tuesday's $1.3082. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 99.81 yen from Tuesday's 99.03 yen.
The dollar index, a prorated measure of the dollar against six major currencies, rose 0.12 percent to 82.49 on the International Exchange.
Stocks were higher across most of Asia and Europe. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index added 0.73 percent, gaining 95.78 points, to 13,288.13. In London, the FTSE 100 index added 1.17 percent, 74.16 points, to 6,387.37.
Oil closed higher at $94.57 per barrel, up 63 cents. Gold dropped $27 to $1,557.90 per troy ounce.
Corn closed higher on the Chicago Board of Trade while soybeans and wheat lost ground. Corn for May delivery added 4.75 cents to $6.49 per bushel. Soybeans shed 2.75 cents to just over $13.92 per bushel. Wheat dropped 12 cents to $6.9675 per bushel.
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