U.S. equities closed at new record levels Thursday after the Bank of England hinted at looser monetary policy next month and as earnings season kicked into full gear.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at an all-time high for the third consecutive day, ending the day up 134.2 points, with Goldman Sachs, IBM and Apple contributing the most gains. Earlier, the blue-chips index rose more than 160 points.
The S&P 500 had its fourth consecutive record close, ending half a percent higher, led by financials. The Nasdaq composite had its sixth positive day of gains in seven, closing half a percent higher as Apple shares gained more than 2 percent.
"Clearly, you're getting a positive stimulus from [the BOE and earnings]," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "The market always tends to move ahead of these thing, and that's why I think you've seen the move higher over the past couple of days."
The United Kingdom's central bank kept interest rates unchanged, while market consensus was for a 25 basis point rate cut to 0.25 percent, which would've been the bank's first move since 2009.
"I certainly think the Bank of England did the right thing by keeping their powder dry. If they need to ease, they can do it," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.
The BOE's meeting minutes said: "In the absence of a further worsening in the trade-off between supporting growth and returning inflation to target on a sustainable basis, most members of the committee expect monetary policy to be loosened in August."
"I think what they're trying to do is keep the markets calm," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial. "The message is that it's business as usual. That's not to say they won't do anything [soon]."