The equity gains have largely come on a strong start to earnings season, though results were mixed on Tuesday with Pfizer rising but Ford Motor Co down after its report.
Both companies reported profits that topped expectations, but Ford also forecast a wider loss in its European segment. Ford dropped 4.6 percent to $13.14 as one of the biggest percentage losers on the S&P 500.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 72.49 points, or 0.52 percent, at 13,954.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.66 points, or 0.51 percent, at 1,507.84. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.64 points, or 0.02 percent, at 3,153.66.
Thomson Reuters data showed that of the 174 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings this season, 68.4 percent have been above analyst expectations, which is a higher proportion than over the past four quarters and above the average since 1994.
Disappointing outlooks from Seagate Technology and BMC Software pressured their shares. Seagate lost 9.4 percent to $33.91 and BMC fell 6.3 percent to $41.71.
D.R. Horton Inc's quarterly profit more than doubled as it managed to sell more homes at higher prices, leading the No. 1 U.S homebuilder to forecast a good spring selling season. The stock jumped 11.8 percent to $23.82.
U.S. home prices rose in November to rack up their best yearly gain since the housing crisis began, a further sign that the sector is on the mend, but consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in more than a year in the wake of higher taxes for many Americans.