The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the key threshold of 16,000 for the first time Thursday, extending a rally that has seen the gauge add over 22 percent this year.
The Dow rose 109.17 (0.69 percent) to a new closing high of 16,009.99.
The broad-based S&P 500 jumped 14.48 (0.81 percent) to 1,795.84, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 47.88 (1.22 percent) at 3,969.15.
Thursday's rise comes on the heels of buoyant economic data, including a drop in weekly US jobless claims and data from the Markit analysis group that showed rising US manufacturing activity in November.
Analysts also cited the Senate Banking Committee's confirmation of Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to take over the central bank.
Yellen is seen by investors as unlikely to quickly scale back aggressive Federal Reserve stimulus that has helped fuel the tremendous rally of 2013.
Other key factors in the market's rise include the better US housing market, solid earnings and generally stronger economic data.
"There's a bias towards the upside," said David Levy, portfolio manager at Kenjol Capital Management. "When prices fall, there's somebody stepping in to buy."
The biggest gainer in the Dow was chipmaker Intel, which jumped 2.7 percent after the company's chief executive said that the personal computer market was "beginning to see signs of stabilization."
Banking stocks performed well, including Dow component JPMorgan Chase (+2.0 percent), Bank of America (+3.0 percent) and Citigroup (+1.9 percent).
Tobacco company Philip Morris sank 3.0 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the company, citing a weaker earnings outlook.
Target fell 3.5 percent after reporting a 46 percent drop in earnings, due in part to heavy startup costs associated with its launch of more than two dozen Canadian stores during the quarter.
General Motors rose 1.1 percent after the US Treasury announced that it would sell its remaining shares in the automaker by the end of the year.
Dollar Tree, which caters to budget consumers, sank 4.5 percent after its annual earnings forecast of $2.25-$2.31 per share fell short of the $2.32 analyst forecast. The company's chief executive pointed to a "very cautious consumer environment."
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.78 percent from 2.79 percent Wednesday, while the 30-year slipped to 3.88 percent from 3.90 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.