Markets higher on strong US results

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(Close): US markets ended the day impressively higher after a positive day on the financial markets.

Strong results from Apple and other major US firms helped boost sentiment among investors, after weeks of volatility on global markets.

On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 215 points, or 1.3%, at 16,615, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended 103 points higher, or 2.4%, at 4,419.

The S&P 500 was also up nearly 2%.

On the Nasdaq, shares in Apple closed up 2.7% after the tech giant reported better-than-expected fourth quarter results late on Monday.

Apple posted earnings of $8.47bn (£5.24bn), a 13% rise from the same period a year earlier, helped by strong sales of its new iPhone 6 models.

Harley-Davidson shares jumped more than 7% after it reported third-quarter profits of $150.1m. Although this was down from a year ago, it beat expectations.

The motorbike maker also said it sold 73,217 new bikes in the quarter, up from 70,517 a year earlier.

However, Coca-Cola shares fell 5.7% after it reported a fall in third quarter profits. Net income dropped to $2.1bn, down from $2.4bn a year earlier.