Stocks racked up solid gains after several upbeat earnings reports and two economic reports that pointed to a continued U.S. recovery.
Sales of existing homes rose 2.6% to a better than expected annual rate of 5.04M in June, the highest reading since October, and in-line gains in consumer prices ease speculation about rising inflation prompting a sooner than expected increase in interest rates.
Chipotle Mexican Grill +11.8% after Q2 results crushed expectations, and Ingersoll-Rand +4.3% after a strong revenue increase and a higher 2014 outlook; however, McDonald's and Coca-Cola fell following disappointing Q2 results.
Relative weakness in the blue chips had little impact on high-beta names, as chipmakers, biotechs and transport stocks all finished ahead of the broader market, while the Russell 2000 regained its 50- and 100-day averages.
"We're finally starting to see revenue growth kick in, and that's the pivot point to this earnings season so far," Wunderlich's Art Hogan says.
Meanwhile, Herbalife shocked with a +25% move despite Bill Ackman's allegation that the company's nutrition clubs lose an average of $12K/year.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note finished flat at 2.46%.