U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 notching new records, shaking off early weakness in the health-care sector to extend gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.55% marked its third consecutive record close, surging 297.84, or 1.6%, to finish at 19,549.62, following a fresh intraday record.

The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.32% which also reached an intraday trading high, closed at a record of 2,241.35, a gain of 29.12 points, or 1.3%, with all sectors except the health care — which finished down 0.8% — closing for a gain. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.14% which had been trading in negative territory earlier, turned higher, and finished up 60.76 points, or 1.1%, at 5,393.76, a few points shy of its record close set in late November. READ MORE