Stocks rose on Wednesday, buoyed by earnings reports from consumer bellwethers like Target.
Energy shares gave an extra boost to Wall Street as crude futures jumped more than 2 percent after a drop in gasoline stockpiles and as the euro rose versus the U.S. dollar. The S&P energy sector .GSPE rose 1.6 percent.
Earnings beats and strong forecasts from retailers Target and Staples shifted the focus to the U.S. economy and away from Europe's debt crisis, which has driven U.S. trading of late. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity in the United States.
"Consumers may not be very confident, but they're still spending money," said Al Kugel, chief investment strategist at Atlantic Trust. "For Target to make that comment is a confirmation of that," he said, referring to its bullish profit outlook.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI added 96.04 points, or 0.84 percent, to 11,501.97. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX gained 13.44 points, or 1.13 percent, to 1,206.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC rose 23.32 points, or 0.92 percent, to 2,546.77.
The S&P 500 is up nearly 10 percent from a nearly 1-year low hit last week as sovereign debt and economic growth worries pressured equities.
European shares .FTEU3 bounced back from earlier losses to gain 0.7 percent, even as financial shares .SX7P fell as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy made clear joint euro zone bond issuance was not on their agenda.
"There was a consensus agreement that we'd like to move closer to a euro bond," said Art Hogan, managing director of Lazard Capital Markets in New York. "But falling short of that, you've got a very strong signal from Germany that they're going to do whatever it takes, and that's bleeding into the strength of the euro, and as that happens we see a commodities rally."
The euro jumped 0.7 percent against the U.S. dollar, while U.S. crude futures advanced 2.5 percent, boosted by a larger-than-expected decline in U.S. gasoline supplies.
Weighing on the Nasdaq, Dell Inc (DELL.O) fell 8.4 percent to $14.48, a day after its quarterly revenues came in below estimates and it forecast flat current-quarter sales.
Target Corp (TGT.N) posted higher profit as back-to-school sales perked up toward the end of the quarter. Its shares were up 4.1 percent to $51.41.
Staples Inc (SPLS.O) jumped 2.1 percent to $14.52 after the office supply retailer raised its profit outlook and posted better-than-expected earnings.