U.S. stocks followed European stocks higher after a survey of German business optimism rose sharply, adding to evidence that the country will avoid a recession. Germany's economic vitality is crucial for the beleaguered region, offsetting economic contraction in surrounding countries.
"Germany is really the bedrock," Stone said. "If it gives way, then you have real problems."
France's CAC-40 closed up 2.2 percent, Germany's DAX 1 percent.
Among other stocks moving on corporate news:
— Abercrombie & Fitch sank after a key sales metric declined in the all-important holiday quarter. The stock fell $2.19, or 4.5 percent, to $46.86.
— WebMD Health Corp. soared after the health website operator reported better-than-expected revenue and an optimistic outlook for 2013. The stock rose $4.14, or 25.4 percent, to $20.44.
— Texas Instruments Inc. rose strongly after saying it will increase its dividend by one-third and buy back up to $5 billion more of its own stock. TI gained $1.70, or 5.2 percent, to $34.18.
Daniel Wagner can be reached at www.twitter.com/wagnerreports .