The Dow and S&P 500 rose on Wednesday on optimism about corporate earnings and positive signals ahead of a meeting of European leaders to tackle the region's debt crisis.
But the Nasdaq fell, weighed by a weak outlook from Internet retailer Amazon.
Prospects for a comprehensive deal to resolve the crisis at a summit later in the day were unclear, with several thorny issues unresolved.
The incoming head of the European Central Bank threw a potential lifeline to the region, signaling the bank would go on buying troubled states' bonds and Germany's lower house of parliament approved a motion to strengthen the euro zone rescue fund.
Unless we get something solid out of Europe, the tug of war between Europe, earnings and data continues. Yesterday, Europe won, but today, the earnings seems to be going well and the data we got this morning was supportive as well, said John Canally, economist at LPL Financial in Boston.
We are now in the waiting game for what comes out from Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 87.26 points, or 0.75 percent, at 11,793.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 2.91 points, or 0.24 percent, at 1,231.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3.68 points, or 0.14 percent, at 2,634.74.
With corporate earnings in high gear, Boeing Co rose 4.8 percent to $66.75 after the planemaker posted a larger quarterly profit that topped estimates on strong operating margins and the company raised its profit forecast.
In other earnings news, Ford Motor Co reported lower third-quarter earnings but beat estimates and offered a full-year forecast that suggested operating margins would fall in the current quarter. The stock fell 4 percent to $11.94.
Amazon.com Inc issued a far weaker-than-expected outlook for the holiday season late Tuesday, citing heavy spending for its new Kindle Fire tablet computer. The stock dropped 9.6 percent to $205.21.]
In the latest economic data, new U.S. single-family home sales rose at their fastest pace in five months in September, but sustained price declines indicated the housing market is far from recovery.
Separately, the government said demand for U.S. durable goods rose more than expected in September to post the largest increase in six months.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)