US stock market has best day since January 2

The US stock market closed sharply higher today as Washington moves closer to avoiding a default on the government's debt, having its best day since January 2.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 323 points to close at 15,126.

The US stock market had its best day since January 2. Credit: Paul Seheult/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 36 points to end at 1,692, while the Nasdaq composite rose 82 points to 3,760.

The prospect of an unprecedented default on the US government's debt and a partial shutdown of the government have been dragging the stock market lower for the past three weeks.