Some of the rise may also be due to investing stock market momentum. A rule of thumb is that when a stock price or an overall index gets tantalizingly close to a milestone, as the S&P has been for days now, it's almost certain to cross that milestone, at least temporarily.
"Sure, it's a good thing," said Christian Bertelsen, chief investment officer of Global Financial Private Capital in Sarasota, Fla. "But I wouldn't read too much into it."
Still, Deutsche Bank analysts raised their year-end target for the index to 1,600 from 1,575.
Companies will be able to maintain their earnings even if lawmakers in Washington decide to implement wide-ranging spending cuts to narrow the budget deficit, the analysts said in a note sent to clients late Thursday.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, climbed 11 basis points to 1.95 percent.
Among other stocks making big moves.
— Halliburton gained $1.91 to $39.72 after posting a loss that was smaller than analysts had expected. The oilfield-services company said fourth-quarter profits declined 26 percent to $669 million on increasing pricing pressure in the North American market and one-time charges from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Wall Street had expected worse.
— Hasbro fell $1.14 to $37.31 after the toy maker said its fourth-quarter revenue failed to meet expectations because of poor demand over the holidays. The company plans to cut about 10 percent of its workforce and consolidate facilities to cut expenses.
— Green Mountain Coffee Roasters rose $2.53 to $46.31 after an analyst noted that sales of a competing coffee brewer introduced by Starbucks were getting off to a weak start.
AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode contributed to this report.
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