US stocks headed solidly higher in early trade Tuesday, with action focused on Delta Airlines as it buys a stake in Virgin Atlantic and sharp moves higher by Apple, Google and Intel pushing the Nasdaq up.
Also helping were gains in Europe's markets on the back of a surge in German investor sentiment, to a seven-month high.
After an hour of trade (1530 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 94.77 points (0.72 percent) to 13,264.65.
The broad-market S&P 500 added 11.76 (0.83 percent) at 1,430.31, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite rose 37.28 points (1.25 percent) to 3,024.24.
The gains came also as the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee opened its final policy meeting of the year, with expectations that they will decide to expand bond purchase operations to replace the expiring "Operation Twist" bond swap program.
"It is widely expected that the FOMC will announce a new plan to buy long-term securities after Operation Twist ends. The main difference is that the new purchases (versus those made with "Twist") will be unsterilized. That is, the new plan will carry the moniker of 'QE4'," said Patrick O'Hare of Briefing.com.
Delta added 4.1 percent after announcing the purchase of a 49 percent stake in Richard Branson's Virgin from Singapore Airlines for $360 million. Branson will continue to hold a 51 percent controlling stake.
Insurer AIG was up 3.4 percent to $34.50 after the US Treasury announced the successful sale of its final 234 million shares at an average of $32.50 a share.
The Nasdaq was boosted as volatile Apple gained 2.7, Google added 2.0 percent and Intel jumped 2.9 percent.
Bond prices fell. The 10-year US Treasury yield rose to 1.65 percent from 1.62 percent late Monday, while the 30-year moved to 2.84 percent from 2.80 percent.
Bond prices and yields move inversely.