The Dow flirted with the 17,000 mark Tuesday, and the S&P 500 surpassed its record on encouraging manufacturing data in the world's two biggest economies.
In June, manufacturing grew in China as well as in Japan and it remained strong in the U.S. That created optimism about the global economy and major indices rallied to fresh highs.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) closed 129 points higher, at a new high of 16,956, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 50 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was up 13 points to a record high of 1,973.
Auto sales for the month of June were better than expected. General Motors (GM) gained 3.5 percent, Toyota's (TM) U.S. listed shares gained 2 percent, but Ford (F) was down fractionally.
The technology sector had a good day. Netflix (NFLX) was among the top gainers, rallying 7 percent on an upgrade from Goldman Sachs. The stock is up 110 percent from a year ago.
Twitter (TWTR) popped 2.5 percent on news a former Goldman executive, Anthony Noto, will become the company's CFO.
And even old tech did well. IBM (IBM) was the top gainer on the Dow 30 up more than 2.5 percent. And Hewlett Packard (HPQ) was up 1.5 percent a day after announcing it had settled three shareholder lawsuits.
Biotech firm Regeneron (REGN) was also a winner up almost 7.5 percent. The boost came from news Sanofi had raised its stake in the company even though it says it isn't planning on buying it outright.
GoPro (GPRO) continued to soar, gaining another 20 percent. It has risen every single day since going public last Thursday.
Southwest (LUV) was also in focus gaining 3 percent after announcing it is flying to international destinations for the first time. The discount carrier picked up routes to the Caribbean through its 2011 purchase of AirTran. It's been a good year for Southwest. The stock is up 47 percent year to date.
Among the day's biggest decliners was Acuity Brands (AYI) down almost 15 percent. The LED lighting company's earnings fell short of expectations.
Urban Outfitters fell 1 percent on a downgrade from Wedbush.
Symantec (SYMC) also got a downgrade from Bank of Montreal and its shares fell a fraction of a percent.
-Produced by Karina Huber.
What to Watch Wednesday:
Automatic Data Processing (ADP) releases its survey of private-sector hiring for June at 8:15 a.m. Eastern time.
The Commerce Department releases factory orders for May at 10 a.m.
At 11 a.m., Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks about monetary policy at the International Monetary Fund central banking conference in Washington.
7 Worst Wedding Gifts
After Market: Manufacturing Builds New Records for Dow, S&P
Unless you know the couple's tastes well, you'll likely go wrong trying to pick out artwork or home décor that they'll display.
Better alternative: Simple, elegant picture frames are a surer bet, Bodge says, because the couple can place their wedding photos or own artwork in them.
Kendal Perez, a money-saving expert who blogs for Hassle-Free Savings, says she received a deep fryer as a wedding gift but never used it because she doesn't like fried food. The bigger problem, though, was that she had no place to store such large kitchen items that aren't on a couple's registry.
Better alternative: Perez recommends opting for a quality knife or common kitchen item that will get a lot of use. Or, Bodge says you can give a food basket filled with gourmet goodies or pantry essentials.
A monogram can be a nice way to personalize linens or other items. But, for example, if you choose a monogram color that doesn't match the couple's bathroom, the towels might not get used and they can't be returned or exchanged, Bodge says. Plus -- this might be hard to believe if everything you own has your initials on it -- plenty of people just don't like monograms.
Better alternative: Rather than spend extra to monogram linens, put your money toward higher-end towels or sheets in basic white or the color of the linens on the gift registry.
Perez says that one of her friends received a fertility god statue as a wedding gift, which was wrong for so many reasons. Beginning a new life together can be stressful enough. Don't give a gift that puts added pressure on the newlyweds to start a family immediately.
Better alternative: Give the couple tickets or a gift certificate to do an activity you know they'll like, such as a cooking class or even a tourist attraction in their town, Bodge says.
Unless you're an artisan and the bride or groom is a big fan of your work, don't attempt to make something yourself, Bodge says. Your gift could come off looking cheap or might not suit the couple's tastes. Plus, they won't be able to return or exchange it, Bodge says, and they might feel guilty not displaying it or using it because they know that you put effort into making it.
Better alternative: If the items on a couple's registry are too pricey for you, ask other guests on a budget to chip in for a group gift.
What makes you laugh might make others blush or scratch their heads and wonder, "What was he thinking?"
Better alternative: Perez says that if you want to be funny, do it with a card and fill it with cash.
Most newlyweds are in a happy place in their relationship and don't need a gift that suggests otherwise, Bodge says. So steer clear of books that offer advice to avoid looking like you think the couple's relationship needs work or could be headed for disaster.
Better alternative: A gift card to a department store or big-box store such as Target always is a good fall-back if you don't know what else to get someone. And you can save by buying discount gift cards at Web sites such as Cardpool and Gift Card Granny