U.S. stocks rallied Thursday, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to uncharted territory, boosted by optimistic market sentiment triggered by good news out of and outside the country.
The S&P 500 hit a new intraday record of 1,941.74 points before finishing at 1,940.46 points, a record close, up 12.58 points, or 0.65 percent, a day after the benchmark index refreshed record intraday and closing highs.
The blue-chip Dow also touched an all-time intraday high of 16, 845.81 points and logged a record close of 16,836.11 points, rising 98.58 points, or 0.59 percent.
While the Nasdaq Composite Index jumped to a two-and-a-half month high, up 44.58 points, or 1.05 percent, to 4,296.23.
The record rally on Wall Street came out as market fears over Europe were alleviated after the European Central Bank (ECB) unveiled a batch of stimulus measures Thursday in an effort to tackle its long-standing deflation pressure.
The ECB announced at its policy meeting earlier in the day that interest rates of the main refinancing operation, marginal lending facility and deposit facility will be cut to 0.15 percent, 0.4 percent and minus 0.1 percent, respectively.
ECB President Mario Draghi told a press conference that the rate cut was among "a combination of measures to provide additional monetary policy accommodation and to support lending to the real economy."
The move which was largely in line with market expectations propped up the European market Thursday where most stocks closed in green territory.
U.S. equities also followed the suit, with the major indices posting strong performances, which were also underpinned by recent upbeat economic data from the world's largest economy.
On the previous day, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said economic activity in the U.S. non-manufacturing sector in May grew at the fastest speed since August 2013, topping market forecast.
Also on Wednesday, private payroll processor ADP data showed the U.S. private sector employment added 179,000 jobs in May. Though falling short of analysts expectations, the number wasn't considered to alter the recovering pace in the labor market in essence.
Investors are closely awaiting the department's nonfarm payroll report due out Friday to get more clues about the improvement in the U.S. labor market.
On the economic front, the number of Americans who initially applied for jobless benefits last week rose slightly. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims increased 8,000 from the previous week to 312,000, while the four-week moving average fell to a seven-year low of 310,250.
In corporate news, Sprint is reportedly nearing a deal that would merge the third and fourth biggest U.S. wireless telecom carriers. The former has reportedly agreed to pay roughly 40 U.S. dollars per share to acquire T-Moblie US.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of fear in the market, dropped 3.31 percent to end at 11.68.
In other markets, the U.S. dollar retreated against major currencies Thursday and it weakened versus the euro despite the ECB's decision to cut interest rates to boost inflation and economy.
In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3653 dollars from 1.3599 dollars of the previous session. The greenback bought 102. 45 Japanese yen, lower than 102.71 yen of the previous session.
U.S. oil price lost ground. Light, sweet crude for July delivery moved down 16 cents to settle at 102.48 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for July delivery gained 39 cents to close at 108.79 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange registered the biggest one-day gain in three weeks.
The most active gold contract for August delivery rose nine dollars, or 0.72 percent, to settle at 1,253.3 dollars per ounce.