US shares closed at record levels after the Federal Reserve (Fed) indicated that its efforts to boost the economy would continue for now.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.1% higher at 15,460.92 and the broader S&P 500 added 1.3% to end at a new peak of 1,675.02.
Both measures surpassed previous record highs hit in late May.
Investors have been focusing on when the Fed might end its massive bond-buying programme.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke had made previous comments suggesting the policy would be phased out.
But on Wednesday Ben Bernanke clarified his position, saying a “highly accommodative” policy was needed for the foreseeable future.
US shares closed at record levels after the Federal Reserve indicated that its efforts to boost the economy would continue for now
Since late last year, each month the Fed has been buying $85 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds.
The purchases have kept interest rates low, with the aim of encouraging more Americans to buy homes and cars, and hopefully bolster economic growth.
Investors worry that once the Fed starts scaling back its bond buying, interest rates will rise.
“The Fed has made it unequivocally clear that they are not in any hurry to do anything,” said Alec Young, Global Equity Strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
“It’s very bullish for stocks,” he added.
The S&P 500 index has risen for six trading sessions in a row, the longest winning run in four months.
The Nasdaq composite rose 1.4% on Thursday to close at 3,578.30, its highest level in almost 13 years.
Microsoft was one of the biggest winners on the stock market on Thursday.
Its shares jumped 2.8% after the company announced a plan to overhaul its structure.
Asian markets have risen, following gains on Wall Street, after the US Federal Reserve unveiled its latest stimulus plan.
The US central bank said it would buy $40 billion of mortgage debt a month and kept interest rates at below 0.25%.
It said it would also continue its programme to reduce long-term borrowing costs for firms and households.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.8%, South Korea’s Kospi gained 2.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 2.5%.
This followed gains of 1.6% rise in the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes on Thursday.
Asian markets have risen, following gains on Wall Street, after the US Federal Reserve unveiled its latest stimulus plan
Investors are hoping the measures will revive growth in the US economy, the world’s biggest, and a key market for Asian exports.
“They’re saying that the punch bowl, the fuel for the economy, isn’t going away – it’s going to be here as long as you need it,” said Tony Fratto, managing partner at Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy consulting firm.
There have been growing fears about the global economy with a weak recovery in the US and the ongoing debt crisis in the eurozone.
The slowdown in China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, and one of its biggest drivers of growth after the global financial crisis, has fanned those fears.
Prompted by these concerns, policymakers in these regions have been taking measures to try to spur a fresh wave of growth.
The Federal Reserve’s announcement came days after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its latest plan.
Last week, the ECB said that it would buy bonds from the bloc’s debt-ridden nations in an attempt to bring down their borrowing costs.
Meanwhile, China has cut its interest rates twice since June to bring down borrowing costs for businesses and consumers. Beijing has also lowered the amount of money that banks need to keep in reserve three times in the past few months to further encourage lending.
This week South Korea has also unveiled two stimulus measures aimed at boosting domestic demand and helping small businesses.
Analysts said the moves had helped reassure investors and markets that policymakers were doing all they could to ensure growth in the global economy.
“You’re witnessing global economic stimulus across the board,” said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential Financial.
“The Fed’s actions are occurring in conjunction with the European Central Bank’s commitments to support the euro and amid talk that China could also deliver a stimulus package.”