The Dow flirted with the 17,000 mark Tuesday, and the S&P 500 surpassed its record on encouraging manufacturing data in the world's two biggest economies.
In June, manufacturing grew in China as well as in Japan and it remained strong in the U.S. That created optimism about the global economy and major indices rallied to fresh highs.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) closed 129 points higher, at a new high of 16,956, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 50 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was up 13 points to a record high of 1,973.
Auto sales for the month of June were better than expected. General Motors (GM) gained 3.5 percent, Toyota's (TM) U.S. listed shares gained 2 percent, but Ford (F) was down fractionally.
The technology sector had a good day. Netflix (NFLX) was among the top gainers, rallying 7 percent on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs. The stock is up 110 percent from a year ago.
Twitter (TWTR) popped 2.5 percent on news a former Goldman executive, Anthony Noto, will become the company's CFO.
And even old tech did well. IBM (IBM) was the top gainer on the Dow 30 up more than 2.5 percent. And Hewlett Packard (HPQ) was up 1.5 percent a day after announcing it had settled three shareholder lawsuits.
Biotech firm Regeneron (REGN) was also a winner up almost 7.5 percent. The boost came from news Sanofi had raised its stake in the company even though it says it isn't planning on buying it outright.
GoPro (GPRO) continued to soar, gaining another 20 percent. It has risen every single day since going public last Thursday.
Southwest (LUV) was also in focus gaining 3 percent after announcing it is flying to international destinations for the first time. The discount carrier picked up routes to the Caribbean through its 2011 purchase of AirTran. It's been a good year for Southwest. The stock is up 47 percent year to date.
Among the day's biggest decliners was Acuity Brands (AYI) down almost 15 percent. The LED lighting company's earnings fell short of expectations.
Urban Outfitters fell 1 percent on a downgrade from Wedbush.
Symantec (SYMC) also got a downgrade from Bank of Montreal and its shares fell a fraction of a percent.
-Produced by Karina Huber.
What to Watch Wednesday:
- Automatic Data Processing (ADP) releases its survey of private-sector hiring for June at 8:15 a.m. Eastern time.
- The Commerce Department releases factory orders for May at 10 a.m.
- At 11 a.m., Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks about monetary policy at the International Monetary Fund central banking conference in Washington.