Apple pushes S&P 500 to record close as Boeing hits Dow
Biotech stocks ranked among the day's biggest gainers, boosted by some strong results and drug trial data. The Nasdaq Biotech index jumped 2.2 percent in its fourth straight day of gains.
Apple Inc gave one of the biggest lifts to the market, rising 2.6 percent to $97.19 as concerns faded about the iPhone maker's margins. Dow component Microsoft Corp rose 0.1 percent to $44.87 after the company said it aimed to get its money-losing Nokia phone unit to break even within two years.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 26.91 points or 0.16 percent, to end at 17,086.63. The S&P 500 gained 3.48 points or 0.18 percent, to close at 1,987.01, surpassing the record set on July 3. The Nasdaq Composite added 17.68 points or 0.4 percent, to 4,473.70.
While the S&P 500 ended at a record close, the Dow was kept under pressure by Boeing Co, which fell 2.3 percent to $126.71. The US aircraft maker reported a 52 percent jump in quarterly profit, but investors were spooked by rising costs in its military tanker program.
About 55 percent of stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange closed higher while 47 percent of Nasdaq-listed shares ended in positive territory.
About 5.33 billion shares traded on all US platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the month-to-date average of 5.55 billion.
Portugal's stock market outperformed other European bourses, rallying after investors bought stakes in the country's troubled lender Banco Espirito Santo.
Lisbon's benchmark PSI-20 equity index rose 1.7 percent, beating the 0.2 percent gains on the benchmark German and French markets, as investors took heart from late Tuesday news that two major U.S. institutions now held a combined 5 percent interest in BES.
BES has been hit by concerns about its exposure to the debts of its founding family, but the arrival of new investors sent shares in BES up by 14.4 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which touched six-and-a-half year highs in June and early July, closed up by 0.1 percent at 1,375.69 points.
The FTSEurofirst 300 has retreated over the last week after a Malaysian passenger plane was shot down on July 17 over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev is struggling to quell a pro-Russian separatist rebellion, killing 298 people.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average edged down in choppy trade as investors sought to avoid geopolitical risk such as the Gaza crisis, dragging down index-heavyweight SoftBank Corp and exporters such as Honda Motor Co.
The Nikkei ended 0.1 percent lower to 15,328.56. The broader Topix dropped 0.1 percent to 1,272.39, while the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also down 0.1 percent at 11,587.07.