Wall Street advanced after better-than-expected corporate earnings from Netflix and eBay, while Greek lawmakers voted in favour of a third international bailout, safeguarding the nation's place in the euro zone.
Shares of Netflix soared, last up 17.6 per cent, after the company posted a leap in the number of its subscribers.
Shares of eBay rose 3.3 per cent after the company reported earnings that exceeded expectations and said it will sell its enterprise technology business for US$925 million.
In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.7 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.1 per cent.
Gains in shares of Microsoft and those of IBM last 1.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent stronger respectively, led the Dow higher. Shares in Goldman were lower after it opted to set aside a significantly larger provision to cover potential US mortgage settlement payments.
The latest weekly jobless claims data were better than anticipated. Initial claims for US unemployment benefits slid 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 281,000 for the week ended July 11. Economists polled by Bloomberg and Reuters in separate surveys had forecast 285,000.
"Overall, the economy continues to move in the right direction," John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York, told Reuters. "We look for the Federal Reserve to hike rates twice before the end of the year beginning in September."
Separately, US home builder confidence is at the highest level in a decade. A report by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo showed its housing market index was at 60 in July, equalling the upwardly revised reading from the previous month.
To be sure, manufacturers appear still sluggish. The Philadelphia Fed's business activity index declined to 5.7 in July, down from 15.2 in June.
"It adds to the disconcerting trend seen in other manufacturing sector indicators that have been consistently pointing to a lingering stagnation in US manufacturing sector activity," Millan Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York, told Reuters.
"While we believe that the dissipation of the various headwinds buffeting this sector should result in a meaningful rebound later this year, the timing of this seems farther into the horizon," Mulraine added.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 1.4 percent increase from the previous close. The UK's FTSE 100 Index added 0.6 percent, while Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 both each climbed 1.5 percent.
"Greece supports the QE program in Europe for longer," Daniel Weston, chief investment officer of Aimed Capital in Munich, Germany, told Bloomberg. "A rate rise in the US is all but certain in the coming quarters, helping to drive the euro down and benefiting the export economies. I'm optimistic regarding the economic recovery in Europe."
Germany, Greece's toughest financial critic, is to debate in its parliament the latest bailout offer on Friday.
On Thursday, the European Central Bank increased emergency funding for Greek banks, which now appear set to reopen on Monday, although some capital controls are expected to remain in place. EU finance ministers also approved bridge financing for Greece so it can cover pending debt payments.