Stock indexes rose at the open on Friday ahead of a European Union debt-crisis summit on the weekend that could go some way in removing one of the biggest overhangs for markets and allow investors to focus on corporate results.
France and Germany said in a joint statement that European leaders would discuss a solution to the crisis on Sunday, but no decisions would be adopted before a second meeting to be held by Wednesday at the latest.
Equity markets have swung wildly in recent weeks as traders jump on multiple headlines on Europe's debt crisis, and markets remain on edge and susceptible to volatility heading into the weekend.
Today will be all Europe, everything Europe, said John Brady, senior vice president at MF Global in Chicago. It is all about the summit this weekend.
In what could usher in a series of robust earnings from U.S. industrial companies, Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) shares rose 3.7 percent to $50.29 after it reported better-than-expected results and lifted its earnings outlook.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 141.91 points, or 1.23 percent, to 11,683.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX rose 13.60 points, or 1.12 percent, to 1,228.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC added 29.19 points, or 1.12 percent, to 2,627.81.
Recent gains have pushed the S&P 500 to the top end of its trading range at around 1,230-1,250, where it has struggled to make more headway. Many investors are looking for progress in Europe before looking to earnings to push equities higher.
General Electric Co's (GE.N) third-quarter earnings rose, meeting Wall Street's estimate, with profit up at its jet engine, healthcare equipment, railroad locomotive and GE Capital units. The shares fell 1.4 percent to $16.40.
According to Thomson Reuters data, of the 109 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings as of Thursday, 70 percent have topped analysts' expectations.
McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by new menu items in the United States and a tiered-price menu in Europe that includes premium and lower-priced selections. The shares rose 2.5 percent to $91.27.