US stocks advanced as gross domestic product in the second quarter accelerated faster than expected and as jobless benefit claims fell in line with forecasts.
GDP grew at a 2.5% annual rate in the April to June period, according to revised estimates from the Commerce Department. The government had initially reported that GDP had expanded at a 1.7% rate.
Economists had forecast the revised estimate to come in at a 2.2%.
GDP was boosted by recent trade data which showed that exports climbed during the period at their fastest pace in over two years.
Separately, US jobless claims in the week ended August 24th fell 6,000 to 331,000 from a revised 337,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said.
The upbeat data might provide the Federal Reserve with an excuse to begin scaling back its $85bn per month in bond purchases at its next meeting in September.
The central bank has said it would start trimming stimulus once the economy picks up enough.
Meanwhile, the US and other Western governments are mulling over military action in Syria.
The Syrian regime has been accused of using chemical weapons against civilians which left about 300 dead last week.
United Nations (UN) inspectors are currently investigating the allegations against the Syrian regime which is expected to last until Friday.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the team, which arrived in Syria on August 18th, would report to him as soon as they leave the country on Saturday morning following their investigation.
Fears over a potential intervention have pushed the price of oil in the US to a two-year high this week. The price fell back to around $109 per barrel on the NYMEX on Thursday after crude stockpiles in the US rose more than expected.
Soothing Syria concerns on Thursday was news that action will be delayed at least several days while the case is laid out to US and UK lawmakers.
The 10-year US yield has increased from a low of 2.720% on Tuesday to 2.780% on Thursday, suggesting that investors were calming down.
Turning to company news, Campbell Soup retreated after posting a fourth quarter loss after weaker-than expected sales, higher costs and a write-down related to its European unit.
Verizon Communications gained in pre-market New York trading as Vodafone Group said the companies are in talks over the sale of a stake in their Verizon Wireless venture.
Guess rallied after reporting second-quarter adjusted earnings per share that beat analysts' estimates.
Coca-Cola fell following news gay rights groups protested against the company over its sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia, saying the soft drinks giant "supports hate" by staying silent towards Russia's controversial new law on gay propaganda.