In a year full of market milestones, Wall Street crushed a couple more Tuesday, lifting the Dow Jones industrial average past the 18,000-point mark for the first time and delivering the Standard & Poor's 500 index its second record-high close in two days.
Investors welcomed the latest encouraging news on the economy as the government said the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in more than a decade in the third quarter. The economic report card raised expectations for greater demand for fuel, driving oil prices higher and giving some respite to energy stocks, which have been hammered in concert with the slide in oil prices.
The rally gave the Dow and the S&P 500 their fifth straight gain. The indexes have recovered the last of the ground they lost in an early-December slump. It also marked the 51st all-time high for the S&P 500 and the 36th for the Dow this year, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
The Dow gained 64.73 points to 18,024.17. That's up 0.36 percent from its previous record close Monday. The S&P 500 rose 3.63 points to 2,082.17. That's a gain of 0.17 percent from its own all-time record a day earlier. The Nasdaq composite fell 16 points, or 0.33 percent, to 4,765.42.
The S&P 500 is up 12.7 percent this year, while the Dow has gained 8.7 percent.
The Nasdaq was weighed down by a broad slide in biotech stocks.
Express Scripts, the nation's largest pharmacy benefits manager, is putting pressure on drugmakers like Gilead Sciences and others to lower prices. Gilead shed $3.45, or 3.7 percent, to $89.45. Express Scripts rose $3.55, or 4.3 percent, to $85.88.
The Commerce Department reported that the economy grew at a 5 percent annual rate in the July-September period, powered by stronger consumer spending and business investment - the fastest quarterly growth since the summer of 2003.
Consumer spending grew at the fastest pace in three months in November, while income posted the best gain in five months. Factory orders for durable goods declined last month. And sales of new homes slid 1.6 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 438,000, the second consecutive monthly decline.
Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.86 to close at $57.12 a barrel. The price has fallen by about half from a peak of $107 a barrel in June due to abundant supplies and waning global demand for energy.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.58 to close at $61.69 in London.
In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline rose 3.5 cents to close at $1.57 a gallon, while heating oil added four cents to close at $1.99 a gallon. Natural gas rose 2.7 cents to close at $3.17 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In metals trading, gold slipped $1.80 to $1,178 an ounce. Silver edged up eight cents to $15.77 an ounce and copper slipped less than a penny to $2.87 a pound.
The rally in stocks dampened demand for bonds, pushing U.S. government bond prices lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.26 percent.