US stocks, bolstered by positive economic data from the United States and the encouraging fourth-quarter earnings from Bank of America, rose for a second consecutive day Wednesday, bringing the S&P 500 to the uncharted territory.
The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index hit a new record high of 1,850.84 points in intraday trading, before receding to end at 1,848.38, also an all-time closing high, up 9. 50 points, or 0.52 percent.
The Nasdaq Composite Index refreshed a high in more than 13 years, surging 31.87 points, or 0.76 percent, to 4,214.88.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 108.08 points, or 0.66 percent, to 16,481.94.
Bank of America released a strong earnings report Wednesday, which said its net income for the fourth quarter of last year soared to 3.4 billion U.S. dollars, or 29 cents per diluted share, compared to 732 million dollars, or 3 cents a share, from the same period of the previous year. The company's total revenue in the quarter rose 15 percent year on year to 21.7 billion dollars.
The bank's shares advanced 2.27 percent to 17.15 dollars apiece.
The fourth-quarter results from all the six major U.S. banks will be released by the end of this week, which is expected to set the tone of the new earnings season.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo posted a mixed picture in their earnings reports one day earlier.
Positive economic data coming out in the day also buoyed investors' sentiment, which had showed a relatively restless sign in the beginning of the New Year following a stellar year of 2013 for the stock market.
Manufacturing activity in the New York region expanded at a faster pace in January, with the general business conditions index rising to 12.5, its highest level in more than a year, said the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Wednesday.
U.S. mortgage applications surged 11.9 percent last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Moreover, the U.S. Producer Price Index for finished goods advanced 0.4 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department reported.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book strengthened the opinion that the U.S. economy is picking up, saying that economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors.
In corporate news, Apple shares jumped 2.01 percent to 557.36 dollars apiece, as China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile network, will start selling iPhone models Friday. The Chinese telecom giant has reportedly received 1.2 million pre-orders.