The S&P 500 rose near a seven-week high on Wednesday as investors bet the upcoming earnings season and more merger activity will continue to lift equities.
The S&P 500 inched closer to 1,344, which would be the highest since June 2008 and has been a resistance level where continued buying could lead to a technical breakout.
The Dow industrials hit its highest intraday since 2008.
Miner shares rose as gold prices rallied to a record high against a backdrop of a weaker U.S. dollar and investor worries over inflation and unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. Silver touched a fresh 31-year peak.
Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold
There's optimism earnings will be good for the first quarter, said Giri Cherukuri, head trader at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois.
Semiconductors are up on expectation of more M&A activity in the tech sector, he said.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> added 33.57 points, or 0.27 percent, to 12,427.47. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 4.71 points, or 0.35 percent, to 1,337.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> gained 19.72 points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,810.91.
Purchases of major items sent German industrial orders soaring above expectations in February, data showed on Wednesday, in a further sign Europe's largest economy was outshining its neighbors. Orders grew by 2.4 percent in the month, compared to the Reuters forecast for an increase of 0.6 percent.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry)