Stocks had their best session in nearly two weeks Thursday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her support for the ECB's plans to fight the euro zone crisis and Dow component Cisco Systems hiked its dividend 75 percent.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all posted their biggest gains in two weeks. The S&P 500 has moved less than 0.1 percent in three of the past six sessions.
The Dow added 85.33 points, or 0.65 percent, to end at 13250.11, while the S&P 500 climbed 9.98 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 1415.51. The Nasdaq jumped 31.46 points, or 1.04 percent, to finish the day at 3062.39.
Cisco paced the advance, while Wal-Mart led the blue-chip laggards.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, slipped to just above 14, a five-year low. (Read More: Marc Faber—S&P 500 Could Decline by 10% ).
Among key S&P sectors, techs and materials led the gainers, while utilities and health care slipped.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page