Ford reported better than expected third quarter revenue and earnings, while 3M reported solid sales in all of its business divisions.
The Commerce Department said the U.S. trade deficit widened in August to $38.8 billion on flat imports and weak exports. But the increase was slight, only 0.4 percent, and partly offset by positive manufacturing data from China, where a manufacturing index hit a seven-month high in October.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average added 95.88 points, or 0.62 percent, to 15,509.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 5.69 points, 0.33 percent, to 1,752.07. The Nasdaq composite index of tech-dominated stocks added 21.89 points, or 0.56 percent, to 3,928.96.
The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo gained 0.42 percent to reach 14,486.41. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong shed 0.71 percent to 22,835.82. The Shanghai composite index in China lost 0.86 percent to 2,164.32.
In Europe, Germany's DAX index added 0.68 percent to close at 8,980.63. The CAC 40 in France gained 0.35 percent to 4,275.69. In London, the FTSE 100 index added 0.58 percent to 6,713.18.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 1,784 issues advanced while 1,285 declined on volume of 3.6 billion shares traded.
On currency markets, the euro rose to $1.38 and the dollar rose to 97.28 yen. On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold gained $12.30 to $1,346.30 per troy ounce while silver added 8.3 cents to $22.70 per ounce.
Ten-year benchmark treasuries fell 6/32 to yield 2.526 percent.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, corn for December delivery lost 2 3/4 cents to $4.40 per bushel. November contract soybeans shed 1/2 cents to $13.09 1/2. Wheat for December gave up 4 3/4 to $6.97.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
GM recalls 221,000 Cadillacs and Impalas