US stocks have closed sharply higher as investors largely shrugged off 'exit strategy' talk from the Federal Reserve and welcomed the latest batch of earnings, despite retailers again reporting mixed numbers.
At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 158.75 points, or 0.97%, to 16,533.06.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 15.20 points, or 0.81%, to 1,888.03, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index lifted 34.65 points, or 0.85%, to 4,131.54.
Stocks were around their highs for the day at the close and had completely erased the losses of yesterday.
Driving the gains was retailer Tiffany, which surged 9% on strong earnings numbers. It was joined by troubled retailer Target, which climbed close to 1% despite posting a significant fall in profit.
Blue chips were the other main winners, as investors went bargain hunting after yesterday's falls.
On the downside was weaker-than-expected results from retailers Lowe's, PetSmart and American Eagle Outfitters, with stock of all three falling.
Meanwhile, gains were consolidated, and eventually extended, after the mid-afternoon release of the minutes from the Fed's latest policy meeting, with investors largely dismissing the exit strategy talk in the release as it failed to hint at an earlier timetable for rate rises.
"The major averages have yawned at the minutes from the latest FOMC meeting," Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare said.
"The minutes revealed a discussion of the expected path to an eventual rate hike, but there was no mention with regards to the potential timing of a hike."