Profits are climbing for companies, and so are their stock prices.

More big businesses joined the earnings parade Tuesday, saying their profits were even larger in the first three months of the year than analysts were expecting, including Caterpillar and McDonald’s.

The encouraging reports pushed U.S. indexes to their second straight day of big gains, placing them either close to or firmly in record territory.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.61 percent, to 2,388.61. It’s within a third of a percent of its all-time high, set at the start of March.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained even more due to the big jumps for Caterpillar and McDonald’s, which are among the 30 stocks in the average. The Dow rose 232.23 points to 20,996.12.

The Nasdaq rose 0.70 percent to 6,025.49, its first move above 6,000 points. The Russell 2000 of smaller-company stocks was up 13.13 points, or 0.94 percent, at 1,411.08.

“Earnings have come through quite nicely so far,” said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust.

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Many investors say strong profit reports are necessary to justify the big gains stocks have made. Stock prices in recent years have been climbing faster than earnings.