Financials led the way higher, continuing their December rally after underperforming the broader market for much of the year. The KBW bank index 1.9 per cent.
Northern Trust, which has $657bn in assets under management, recently reduced its cash allocation and increased investments in US large cap equities and fixed income.
Adobe Systems jumped six per cent to $30.93 after it gave an upbeat forecast, while coal miner Massey Energy rose on expectations the company was lining up potential buyers. Massey gained 1.2 per cent to $52.45.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 55.03 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 11,533.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 7.52 points, or 0.60 per cent, to 1,254.60 –?marking a fresh two-year high. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 18.05 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 2,667.61.