US stocks powered higher in early trade Thursday, joining a surge in European markets amid rising oil prices and improved sentiment following Wednesday's Federal Reserve meeting.
About 30 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,605.59, up 248.72 points (1.43 percent).
The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 29.32 (1.46 percent) to 2,042.21, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 66.72 (1.44 percent) to 4,711.04.
Equity markets took heart from a rise in oil prices after Saudi Arabia's petroleum minister described the recent retreat in prices as temporary. Stock markets in Britain, France and Germany were all up at least 1.5 percent.
Analysts said spirits were also lifted by the outcome Wednesday of the Fed's two-day monetary policy meeting, which stoked talk of a "Santa Claus rally."
The US central bank left in place market expectations that it may raise interest rates only in the middle of 2015 and not sooner, and gave a fairly upbeat assessment of the economy.
Wall Street stocks rallied sharply after the Fed announcement, with the S&P 500 soaring 2.04 percent, its best one-day gain of the year.
Petroleum-oriented stocks rose, including Dow component Chevron (+1.1 percent), oil-services company Halliburton (+1.5 percent) and Marathon Oil (+4.2 percent), which announced that it would cut its 2015 capital budget by about 20 percent in the wake of lower crude prices.
Information-technology giant Oracle bolted 8.8 percent higher as second-quarter earnings translated into 69 cents per share, a cent above analyst expectations.
Consulting company Accenture jumped 5.6 percent after earnings for fiscal first-quarter 2015 rose 11 percent to $831.5 million.
Biotech company Amgen advanced 1.4 percent following news it will lift its first-quarter dividend by 30 percent in 2015.
Drugstore chain Rite Aid soared 10.2 percent as it raised its profit forecast after reporting that same-store sales jumped 5.4 percent in the third quarter.
Packaged food company ConAgra sank 5.0 percent on news that second-quarter net income shrank to $10 million from $248.7 million in the year-ago period following a large charge in its private brands segment, which includes snacks, pasta and retail bakery goods.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.21 percent from 2.15 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.81 percent from 2.75 percent. Bond yields and prices move inversely.