Stocks extended gains on Tuesday for a second day as investors took an optimistic view that the Federal Reserve will temper recent statements pointing to the future reduction of US monetary support.
Shares of industrial, technology and consumer discretionary companies rallied on expectations that the Fed will maintain its current level of bond purchases when it issues its next policy statement.
The Dow Jones Index was up 0.9%, at 15,324, the S&P 500 Index is up 0.8% at 1,652 and the Nasdaq Composite was up almost 1% at 3,486.
Earlier in Europe: the FTSE in London was up 0.69%, the DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.17%, but the CAC-40 in Paris was down 0.08%.
The Australian 200 Index closed down 0.2% at 4,814 and the NZX 50 closed up 0.3% at 4,462.
And the New Zealand dollar is up against the Australian after the Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed it is likely to cut its official cash rate again soon - which is likely to push the New Zealand dollar higher again.
At 6.45am on Wednesday, the kiwi was trading at 84.35 cents and around 80 US cents.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US105 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1365 per ounce.