Wall Street surges 1% higher

US stocks seeing one of best days for year on earnings, weekly jobs data.

United States stocks are sharply higher in mid-afternoon trade as investors bet that this week's closely-watched US labour market report will come in better-than-expected.

Stocks were also seen driven by strong company earnings and news weekly jobless claims had come in under forecasts. One drag was microblogging host Twitter, which sunk after a soft earnings update yesterday.

At 0630 AEDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 178.60 points, or 1.16%, to 15,618.83.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 21.19 points, or 1.21%, to 1,772.83, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index surged 48.38 points, or 1.21%, to 4,059.93.

In economic news, weekly jobless claims in the US fell to 331,000 this week, from 351,000 last week. the number was slightly better than expected. However, the trade deficit in the US expanded 12 per cent in December on weak export numbers, which came in worse than analysts had forecast.

In Europe, the European Central Bank and Bank of England both held rates steady at separate monthly board meetings. As expected no new stimulus measures were announced by either central bank despite the European recovery remaining on fragile ground.

In company news, results from Disney, 21st Century Fox and the New York Times were all cheered by the market, with all three prominent firms outstripping the broader market gains. Meanwhile, Kellogg and General Motors were both slightly down on earnings, while Twitter slumped over 20% on worries about its revenue outlook.