Semiconductor shares made big gains on Thursday, after an industry report said sales were up 3.8 percent in March compared to the previous month.

The Semiconductor Industry Association reported that worldwide sales of computer chips rose $21.1 billion, from $20.5 billion in February.

The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose 3.93 percent or 15.13 points to 400.29.

Major chipmakers rose, with Intel Corp. leading the way with a 4.6 percent gain. Rival AMD was up 4.4 percent. Texas Instruments rose 1.5 percent.

The technology heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 68 points, or 2.8 percent, to close at 2,480.7 points.