Wall Street advanced, with the Nasdaq touching a record-high, bolstered by better-than-expected corporate results including from Caterpillar and McDonald's.

In 2.20pm trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 1.3 per cent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.8 per cent. In 2.05pm trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index increased 0.7 per cent. The Nasdaq hit a record 6,031.91.

Rallies in shares of Caterpillar and those of McDonald's, recently up 7.6 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively, led the Dow higher. Caterpillar upgraded its 2017 outlook, predicting full-year sales of between US$38 billion and US$41 billion, compared with a previous forecast for between US$36 billion and US$39 billion.

"Clearly, encouraging signs are emerging that CAT's end markets are finally turning around following a very challenging four year period," Matt Arnold, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co, said in a note to investors, Bloomberg reported. "We view today's news as a solid positive for the stock."

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McDonald's posted quarterly results that beat expectations in an industry that is struggling, fuelling optimism about the fast-food giant's outlook.

Global comparable sales increased 4.0 per cent in the quarter ended March 31, while US comparable sales increased 1.7 per cent, bolstered by the expansion of All Day Breakfast offerings, along with the Big Mac and beverage value promotions.

"Our efforts to build a better McDonald's are yielding meaningful results with continued positive momentum and a strong start to 2017 that includes positive comparable sales across all segments, higher global guest counts and enhanced profitability," McDonald's Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook said in a statement.

Shares of McDonald's touched a record high US$141.99.

In the latest takeover deals, Tyson Foods, the largest US meat processor, agreed to buy AdvancePierre Foods Holdings, which makes packaged sandwiches, for US$3.2 billion to expand its portfolio of prepared foods.

Tyson will pay US$40.25 per share in cash, the company said. Shares of Tyson traded 0.9 per cent weaker as of 1.21pm in New York, while those of AdvancePierre traded 10.1 per cent higher at US$40.36.

"The addition of AdvancePierre aligns with our strategic intent to sustainably feed the world with the fastest growing portfolio of protein packed brands," Tyson CEO Tom Hayes said in a statement. "We believe that AdvancePierre and Tyson are a natural strategic fit and together will accelerate growth for customers by delivering on-trend, high quality products consumers love."

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index finished the session with a 0.2 per cent advance from the previous close. Germany's DAX Index rose 0.1 per cent, while the UK's FTSE 100 Index added 0.2 per cent as did France's CAC40 Index.

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"We expect fund flows to be the dominant driver of European stock/sector performance hereon," Barclays strategists including Dennis Jose wrote in a note, Bloomberg reported. "A reduction in political risk, coupled with an end to the seven-year stagnation in earnings, should lead to an acceleration in foreign investor buying of European equities."