US stocks rally after two down days; Dow up 1.3 per cent

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks pushed higher Thursday, rallying after two down days on generally solid corporate earnings and a gain in oil prices.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,417.46, up 226.09 points (1.32 per cent).

The index fell nearly 500 points in the prior two sessions.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 19.29 (0.96 per cent) to 2,021.45, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 45.41 (0.98 per cent) to 4,683.41.

Analysts cited a modest rise in oil as a source of calm after the commodity fell sharply on Wednesday.

"Investors are worried that falling commodity prices could lead to a deflationary period," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital.

Cardillo said earnings have been "pretty much okay" a stream of reports encompassing a wide array of economic sectors.