Investors rewarded the latest companies to beat expectations. Motorola rose 62 cents, or 9.4%, to $7.19. Goodyear rose $1.97, or 14.2%, to $15.86. Dow Chemical rose $1.26, or 6.2%, to $20.27.
GE rose 85 cents, or 6.9%, to $13.11 and was the biggest gainer among the 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrials.
Bond prices were mixed after a successful auction of $28 billion of seven-year notes. Weak demand at auctions earlier in the week raised concerns that the government might have to offer higher returns on bonds to lure in investors, which would have the negative effect of raising borrowing costs on loans such as mortgages.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.64% from 3.67% late Wednesday.
Light, sweet crude rose $3.59 to settle at $66.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after tumbling 6% Wednesday on fears economic growth in China would slow and curb demand for resources.
The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 9.42, or 1.7%, to 557.80.
Overseas, Britain's FTSE 100 gained 1.9%, Germany's DAX index gained 1.7%, and France's CAC-40 rose 2.1%. Japan's Nikkei stock average rose 0.5%.