Wall St gains on US, China data

United States stocks snap three-day losing streak as Chinese trade data impresses, US jobless claims fall to six-year low.

United States stocks have snapped a three-day losing streak, catalysed by stronger Chinese trade data and better sentiment on the European economy.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.34 (0.17%) at 15,497.01.

The broad-based S&P 500 tacked on 6.45 (0.38%) to 1,697.36, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 15.12 (0.41%) to 3,669.12.

Hugh Johnson, chief executive of Hugh Johnson Advisors, said the market was primed for a jump after notching three straight declines.

Chinese trade data for July showed that exports increased 5.1% year-on-year to $US186.0 billion ($A207 billion), while imports rose 10.9% to $US168.2 billion, revealing some ongoing strength in the Chinese economy.

Mr Johnson also cited remarks from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that the European economy appeared to be stabilising and fresh German trade data that showed a pickup in exports.

New claims for US unemployment insurance benefits edged higher last week from the previous period, the Labor Department said on Thursday, but held to the trend lower.

Initial jobless claims totalled 333,000 in the week ending August 3, up from 328,000 the previous week.

But the four-week moving average continued to push lower, to 335,000, compared to nearly 370,000 per week a year ago.

These were "a catalyst for an oversold bounce," Mr Johnson said.

Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc soared 14.34% after reporting a 20 cents per share profit, compared with a loss of 19 cents per share expected by analysts. Revenues also exceeded expectations. The company said global demand growth for its vehicles remains strong.

Online coupon company Groupon powered 21.56% higher after announcing a $300 million share repurchase program, and naming co-founder Eric Lefkofsky as its next chief executive.