Stocks continued to rise in the last hour of trading SWednesday to new multi-year highs as investors cheered a handful of positive economic reports about jobs and service sector growth, and commodities turned higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 25 points after eking out a new highin the previous session as a broad range of commodities came under pressure.
American Express , Disney and Bank of America led blue-chips higher, while Intel and Travelers fell.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also gained. The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 17.
Most key S&P sectors advanced, led by financials, telecom and consumerdiscretionary.
"This market wants to take a breather, but it is literally getting barraged daily by, dog-gone it, good news," said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management.
The same appears to be true for commodities, Paulsen said, noting that a 1 percent gain in the trade-weighted value of the dollar would typically send the Reuters-Jefferies Commodities Research Bureau Index down, but instead the CRB was up Wednesday.
"It's a testament to how much stronger real growth is," Paulsen said.
Among commodities, copper, often seen as a bellwether for economic activity because of its multiple uses, rebounded after trading off on Tuesday. Gold prices fell near $1,373 an ounce.
Oil prices reversed earlier losses, and closed above $90 a barrelafter a government report showed that inventories fell by about 4.2 million barrels. Earlier this week, the API, an industry group, reported a 7.5 million barrel drop in crude inventories for the week ended Dec. 31.
The markets started the day in the a slump, following a downturn overseas, as international investors weighed the continuing concerns about economic growth expressed by Federal Reserve officials in their December policy-setting meeting, as well as sliding commodity prices, particularly in industrial metals, said Kevin Kruszenski, head of listed trading at KeyBanc Capital Markets in Cleveland.