The S&P 500 rose above 1,400 for the first time in nearly four years on Thursday as data showed the U.S. economy continues to improve.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 36.41 points, or 0.28 percent, to 13,230.51. The S&P 500 Index <.INX> gained 6.97 points, or 0.50 percent, to 1,401.25. The Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 14.93 points, or 0.49 percent, to 3,055.66.

The S&P's intraday high of 1,401.82 was the highest level since June 5, 2008.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)