The gains came after encouraging news on the U.S. job market and Disney and other companies reported solid earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 188 points, or 1.2 per cent, to close at 15,628 Thursday.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 21 points, also 1.2 per cent, to 1,773. It was the best gain for both indexes since Dec. 18. Both are still down about half a per cent for the week following a steep drop on Monday.
The Nasdaq composite gained 45 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 4,057.
Disney jumped 5 per cent after the media company reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates, thanks partly to its box-office hit "Frozen."