Several major U.S. corporations revealed details on how they would spend savings that a recently passed tax bill, which will reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, would bring about. Among those spending measures were wage increases and employee bonuses.
Meanwhile, the Senate passed a stop-gap spending bill that would help to avoid a government shutdown. The House of Representatives approved the bill earlier on Thursday. The passage of the funding bill by the Senate now allows for President Donald Trump to sign both the Republicans' tax bill and the government funding bill as early as Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.64 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 24,782.29, with other indexes recording similarly moderate gains.
Markets were also supported by robust U.S. growth data, which showed the U.S. economy grew 3.2 percent in the third quarter. That was a slight downward revision compared to the 3.3 percent reported in November, but remained the fastest rate of growth seen in longer than two years, Reuters said.
In currencies, the dollar edged up against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index at 93.407 at 2:33 p.m. HK/SIN, above Thursday's close of 93.297. The greenback was firmer against the yen, last fetching 113.36 yen.
The Canadian dollar was steady after rising to its highest levels in more than two weeks following the release of better-than-expected inflation and retail sales numbers. The loonie traded at $1.2740 to the dollar after touching a high of $1.2696 overnight.
Bitcoin had another volatile day in what has already been a volatile week, with the cryptocurrency tumbling more than $2,000 in the span of just 12 hours.
After plumbing a low of $13,077.94, bitcoin was changing hands at $13,884.99 at 2:34 p.m. HK/SIN, according to industry site CoinDesk.
On the energy front, oil prices were slightly lower, but with neither of the main futures moving very far. Brent crude futures were 0.14 percent lower at $64.81 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate shed 0.29 percent to trade at $58.19.