The pace of growth in the first of three estimates is slower than the 4.1 percent gross domestic product growth rate of the third quarter, but it came in as expected and seemed to proclaim that the recovery's pace remained solid.
"The ingredients seem to be in place for the economy to remain on a strong growth path and not be interrupted by fiscal squabbling at the federal level," said Conference Board Director for Microeconomic Analysis Kathy Bostjancic, who called the growth rate for the second half of the year "a relatively pleasant change for the better."
After declines in three of the past four sessions, the Dow Jones industrial average added 109.82 points or 0.7 percent to 15,848.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 19.98 points, 1.13 percent, to reach 1,794.18. The technology-dominated Nasdaq composite index gained 71.69 points, 1.77 percent, to 4,123.13.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,431 stocks advanced and 700 declined on a volume of 3.1 billion shares.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index dropped 376.85 points, 2.45 percent, to 15,007.06.
In Europe, London's FTSE 100 dropped 5.83 points, 0.09 percent, to 6,538.45.
The 10-year U.S. treasury was yielding 2.7 percent on a drop of 5/32.
The euro traded higher at $1.3551 and the dollar was higher against the yen at 102.72 yen.
Gold dropped $19.10 to close at $1,243.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Silver shed 38.2 cents to settle at $19.175 an ounce.
Crude oil added 59 cents to hit $97.95 per barrel on the NYMEX.
On the Chicago Board of Trade, March corn gained 6 cents to hit $4.335 per bushel. Soybeans added 6.25 cents at $12.755 and winter wheat added 2 cents to $5.535.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]