NEW YORK – The Dow powered to a close above 13,000 for the first time and the broader market rose to its highest level in more than six years Wednesday, buoyed by a steady parade of strong profit reports and reassuring news on the economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 135.95 points, or 1.05 percent, to end at 13,089.89. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 15.01 points, or 1.01 percent, to close at 1,495.42. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 23.35 points, or 0.92 percent, to finish at 2,547.89.
Standouts in the session included Alcoa Inc. (AA), up 5.2 percent after the world's largest aluminum company said it would consider selling its unit that makes Reynolds Wrap, and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), up 27 percent after the Internet retailer posted far stronger-than-expected profits.
A surprisingly strong durable goods report bolstered confidence in the outlook for business spending, while the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report said regional U.S. economies grew modestly while prices increases moderated.
"We are definitely in a bull market here. We had a lot of hesitation at the round number of 13,000, but then it went through and we attracted some volume," said David Straus, a portfolio manager with Johnston Lemon Inc. in Washington.
"Earnings expectations had been beaten down so much that when they are coming through they are beating expectations."
In the afternoon, the Dow leaped to an intraday record of 13,107.45, building on the momentum that had sent it past 13,000 in just a few minutes after the open.
Of the 30 components in the Dow, 29 finished higher, with 3M Co. (MMM), which is to report its quarterly results on Thursday, the only decliner.
Alcoa shares finished up 5.2 percent at $35.76, making the stock the Dow's second biggest advancer behind International Business Machines Corp. (IBM).
Amazon shares led the Nasdaq to its highest level since February 2001 after the Internet retailer said late on Tuesday its quarterly profit more than doubled, beating expectations.
The stock jumped 27 percent to end at $56.81, marking its biggest one-day advance in nearly five and a half years.
Shares of IBM, the world's biggest computer services company, notched their second day of gains after the company unveiled a plan for a $15 billion share buyback and boosted its dividend.
IBM shares, which also contributed to the S&P 500's highest climb in more than six years, ended up 3.02 percent at $101.46 on the NYSE.
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) was another standout, boosted by a 1.95 percent rise in U.S. crude oil prices to $65.84 a barrel, after government data showed a surprisingly large drop in gasoline supply. Exxon finished up 1.7 percent at $79.92 on the NYSE.
The reassuring news on the economic front helped shares of transportation companies and sent the Dow Jones transportation average to a record close, up 2.1 percent.
Shares of United Parcel Service Inc. ended up 1.5 percent at $73 on the NYSE after the company stood by its full-year earnings forecast despite posting a lower first-quarter profit.
Aerospace manufacturer Boeing Co. (BA) also posted stronger-than-forecast earnings. The stock rose 1.1 percent to $94.69 on the NYSE, after hitting an all-time high of $94.75.
Even so, housing data limited gains on shares of home builders but failed to dampen the gains in the broader market. New-home sales rose in March but fell short of the pace forecast by analysts.