- Wall Street rallied on Thursday after solid U.S. economic growth data coupled with better-than-expected earnings sparked demand for equities.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.70%, the S&P 500 index rose 1.13%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 1.77%.

Solid earnings from social networking icon Facebook and credit-card company Visa, among others, sent broader indices gaining on Thursday as did reports that Google is selling its Motorola mobile phone unit to Lenovo for USD2.91 billion.

Solid U.S. growth rates sent prices climbing as well.

The dollar rallied after the Commerce Department said gross domestic product expanded 3.2% in the three months to December, in line with most forecasts, even outpacing some, following a 4.1% rise in the third quarter.

Consumer spending rose by 3.3%, the strongest since the fourth quarter of 2010, which markets applauded especially, while exports grew by 11.4%.

Meanwhile, demand for U.S. equities rose among investors seeking to shuffle their money out of emerging markets.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Nike, up 3.00%, Caterpillar, up 2.83%, and Walt Disney, up 2.65%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included Boeing, down 2.52%, 3M, down 1.68%, and Exxon Mobil, down 1.20%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished largely higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.35%, France''s CAC 40 rose 0.55%, while Germany''s DAX 30 rose 0.39%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 finished down 0.09%.

On Friday, the U.S. is to round up the week with a report on manufacturing activity in the Chicago region, revised data on consumer sentiment and a report on personal spending.

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