News that China's trade rebounded last month signalled the end of a six-month slowdown for the world's second-largest economy. China is the world's biggest buyer of raw materials.
The report drove the price of copper to the highest in two months.
The Standard & Poor's 500 rose six points, or 0.4 per cent, to close at 1,697 Thursday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 27 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 15,498. The Nasdaq composite gained 15 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 3,669.
It was the stock market's first gain this week.
Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was below average at 3.2 billion shares.