Wall Street advanced overnight, helped by Pfizer and Wal-Mart, as the latest raft of durable goods and housing data provided further evidence that the US economy is gathering pace.

In New York trading at about 12.34pm, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.2 percent. At about 12.18pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.1 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent. US markets will be closed Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the Dow, advances in shares of Pfizer and those of Wal-Mart Stores, last up 3.4 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, outweighed declines in shares of Boeing and those of IBM, last 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent weaker respectively.

Shares of Deere climbed, last up 3.2 percent at US$78.75 after rising as high as US$80.48 earlier in the session, after the company reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and estimates for fiscal 2016 profit. While weakness in global markets for farm and construction equipment hurt sales and profit, cost cuts helped mitigate the impact.


"Although our forecast calls for lower results in the year ahead, the outlook represents a level of performance that is considerably better than we have experienced in previous downturns," Samuel Allen, Deere's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "This shows the continuing success of our efforts to establish a more durable business model and a wider range of revenue sources."

Consumer spending rose a lower than expected 0.1 percent in October, the same as in September. Still, the gain kept alive expectations the Federal Reserve will lift interest rates next month.

"As far as fourth-quarter GDP goes, that is likely to keep estimates close to 2 percent," Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York, told Reuters. "That's enough to justify a rate hike as long as next Friday's employment report is not a disaster."

Separately, a Labor Department report showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 260,000 for the week ended November 21, while a Commerce Department showed durable goods orders, excluding aircraft, climbed 1.3 percent in October.

Another Commerce Department report showed sales of new homes jumped 10.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000 units in October, up from a downwardly revised pace of 447,000 units in September.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 1.4 percent rally from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index gained 1 percent, France's CAC 40 Index increased 1.5 percent, while Germany's DAX Index rallied 2.2 percent.

In the UK, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne upgraded the government's forecast for the country's economic growth next year.

Meanwhile, European Central Bank policy makers are considering options such as two-tiered bank charges and broader bond purchases as they seek to stoke economic growth in the euro zone, Reuters reported, citing officials it did not name.


"The prospect of more stimulus measures from the ECB's meeting next week has also helped to boost Europe's equity markets today," Steven Santos, a broker at Banco de Investimento Global in Lisbon, told Reuters.