Strong earnings reports from big U.S. companies helped push the Dow Jones industrial average to its eighth gain in nine sessions Tuesday.
DuPont, Verizon and Travelers Cos., three of the 30 stocks that make up the Dow, closed higher after reporting their financial results for the final quarter of 2012.
The Dow closed up 62.51 points at 13,712.21. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 0.44 percent to close at 1,492.56. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.27 percent to close at 3,143.18.
The indexes spent the morning edging between small gains and losses. Around noon, the Dow rose decisively and stayed higher for the rest of the day.
Earnings have been strong enough this season to drive a five-day winning streak for the S&P 500 and put the Dow on track for its biggest monthly percentage gain since October 2011. Jack Ablin, of BMO Private Bank in Chicago, said traders have been encouraged by the number of companies beating analysts' profit expectations.
"Granted, we have diminished expectations, but companies are doing a decent job beating on the profit side," he said, adding that revenues have been weaker.
Traders might gain more confidence if companies reported stronger demand from emerging markets and Europe, Ablin said.