The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 74 points, or 0.3%, to 16663. The Dow was closing in on its May 13 record high close of 16715.44, and its intraday record of 16735.51 hit the same day.
The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 27 points, or 0.6%, to 4213. The early gains put the benchmark indexes on course for a fourth-straight rise. Stocks appear to have shaken off recent concerns about uneven economic growth, a Federal Reserve that was slowly removing stimulus measures and tensions in Ukraine that have kept the market hemmed in tight trading range over the last couple months. Through last week, the S&P 500 had traded within a 4.5% band since March 4, pushing the CBOE's Market Volatility Index to its lowest close since March 2013. And the Russell 2000 index of small-capitalization stocks, which had underperformed the broad market by a wide margin during that time, is set to outperform the S&P 500 for a third-straight session. The index is up 0.9%, putting it on an early track to close at 4 1/2-week high.