A sign for Wall Street outside the NYSE on July...

A sign for Wall Street outside the NYSE on July 15, 2013. Credit: AP

Stocks finished slightly higher Thursday, led by technology companies and drugmakers.

After a big move the day before, that was enough to take stocks back to record highs.

Drugmaker AbbVie jumped after it reached a deal with a competitor that would delay competition for its anti-inflammatory treatment Humira, the biggest-selling drug in the world.

Industrial firms took small losses as big names like Boeing and General Electric declined.

September is historically the weakest month of the year for stocks, but the Standard & Poor’s 500 has risen 1.6 percent this month. The third quarter ends Friday, and the index has climbed 12 percent this year. That has some investors wondering if other markets are poised to do better than U.S. stocks in the months to come.

“The U.S. economic cycle is so much further along than the Europe economic cycle,” said Sameer Samana, global quantitative strategist for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 3.02 points, or 0.1 percent, to a record high of 2,510.06. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 40.49 points, or 0.2 percent, to 22,381.20. The Nasdaq composite inched up 0.19 points to 6,453.45.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks continued to set new highs as it advanced 3.97 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,488.79.

Latest Videos