Boeing Co. and Caterpillar Inc. led stocks higher on Tuesday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to its highest close since June 2008.
Boeing rose 3.4 percent after reporting that it expects to deliver its long-awaited 787 jet in the third quarter. Caterpillar gained 2.8 percent. The two companies contributed more than half of the Dow's 50-point rise.
Indexes swung between gains and losses earlier in the day. Apple Inc. weighed on the Nasdaq composite index after the company announced that its CEO, Steve Jobs, was taking another medical leave. Apple fell 2.2 percent to $340.65.
After the market closed, Apple said its net income soared 78 percent in the holiday quarter. The company sold 16 million iPhones, an 86 percent increase from the year before, and about a million more iPads than analysts expected.
Banks dropped after Citigroup Inc. reported earnings that fell short of analysts' forecasts. Citigroup fell 6.4 percent. Bank of America lost 1.6 percent.
Delta dropped 8.2 percent after winter storms caused its earnings to come in lower than investors had expected.
The Dow rose 50.55 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 11,837.93. The Dow has already gained 2.2 percent this year as optimism builds about the economy. The index rose 11 percent last year, or 14 percent including dividends.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 1.78, or 0.1 percent, to close at 1,295.02. The Nasdaq rose 10.55, or 0.4 percent, to 2,765.85.
European markets rose after Greece raised $865 million in another successful bond auction. That allayed concerns about Europe's financial system, which have been a drag on U.S. markets.
Bond prices fell, pushing their yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.37 percent from 3.32 percent late Friday. U.S. markets were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Rising stocks outpaced falling ones by a small margin on the New York Stock Exchange. Consolidated volume was 5.2 billion shares.
Among the stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market were:
Comerica Inc., down $3.51 at $38.74
The Dallas bank is buying regional banking company Sterling Bancshares Inc. for about $1 billion in a bid to strengthen its Texas presence.
Forest Laboratories Inc., up 82 cents at $32.26
Higher sales of key drugs and lower expenses lifted the drugmaker's quarterly profit by 53 percent.
Meritage Homes Corp., down $1.57 at $24.27
A UBS analyst downgraded his rating on the homebuilder, saying its shares were too pricy given the troubled U.S. real estate market.