US stocks : Dow up 0.3 pct
Data showing stronger international trade in China and Germany, and a report indicating the U.S. trade deficit had narrowed in December, pointed to improving global demand.
"That may have sent a ray of optimism," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
The technology sector led the day's gains, with the S&P 500 technology index up 1 percent. Gains in LinkedIn Corp and AOL Inc following their quarterly results helped the sector.
The benchmark S&P 500, up more than 6 percent for the year, is on track for six straight weeks of gains for the first time since August 2012.
But an advance has been tougher in recent days as investors await strong trading incentives to drive the index further upward.
"I think we're in the middle of a trading range and I'd put plus or minus 5 percent around it. Fundamental factors are best described as neutral," Dickson said.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 40.94 points, or 0.29 percent, at 13,984.99. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.72 points, or 0.51 percent, at 1,517.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 27.94 points, or 0.88 percent, at 3,193.08.
The Nasdaq was just 3 points shy of its highest level since November 2000.
Shares of LinkedIn jumped 21.1 percent to $150.31
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