By Agence France-Presse
All three major US stock indices finished at new records, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.3 percent to 21,640.75, edging past a prior record set earlier this month by three points.
The S&P 500 gained 0.5 percent to end at 2,473.83, while the tech-rich Nasdaq advanced 0.6 percent to 6,385.04. It was the second straight day of new records for those indexes.
Investors shrugged off worries about Washington, where President Donald Trump's agenda has languished amid opposition to the health care reform. Trump on Wednesday urged Republican Senators to revive the bill, despite the fact it failed to garner enough support within his own party.
But earnings growth among companies in the S&P 500 has thus far been "much better" than expected, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.
"That is helping the stock market and is the focus this week," Hogan said.
Of the companies reporting Wednesday, Morgan Stanley was a standout, rising 3.3 percent after reporting an 11.4 percent rise in second-quarter profits to $1.6 billion.
Other factors that helped boost stocks included better-than-expected housing data and a bullish US oil inventory report that supported oil prices and boosted shares of petroleum-linked companies. Apache rose 5.0 percent, Halliburton 3.6 percent and ConocoPhillips 1.4 percent.
But IBM sank 4.2 percent after suffering its 21st straight quarter of declining revenue as second-quarter net income dipped seven percent to $2.3 billion.
United Continental plummeted 5.9 percent despite scoring a 39 percent rise in second-quarter profit to $818 million. Analysts cited disappointment with aspects of its third-quarter forecast.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals surged 20.9 percent after releasing positive clinical data for its medical treatment regimes for cystic fibrosis.
Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of the Food Network, climbed 14.7 percent on reports it held talks with Discovery Communications and Viacom on a potential takeover. Discovery gained 4.3 percent and Viacom won 2.6 percent.