Stocks rose, lifting some market indexes to new highs, as another report showed that the economy's surprising strength still hasn't sparked inflation.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 38.31, to 11,186.41, finishing the day less than 15 points from Monday's record close of 11,200.98.
Broader stock indexes also advanced. The Nasdaq composite rose 21.24, to 2839.37, for its second straight record close, and the Standard & Poor's 500 rose 11.45, to 1409.62, topping last Friday's record high of 1403.28.
Investors were cheered for the second day in a row by an encouraging report on inflation.
Before the start of today's trading, the Labor Department reported that consumer prices held steady in June for the second straight month -- the best showing since 1986, when prices fell for three months in a row.
Economists had expected a slight increase of 0.1 percent in the consumer price index. The data, along with Wednesday's news that prices at the wholesale level fell 0.1 percent in June, should help calm fears about an inflationary spurt back in April.
"The numbers today were wonderful," said Charles Pradilla, chief investment strategist at SG Cowen Securities.
He noted, however, that the buying remains restrained with the market trading at lofty levels and a barrage of second-quarter profit reports due next week.
"It's not a market that's acting scared by any means. I'm not saying there isn't nervousness about certain companies, but this is not a nervous market across the board," Pradilla said. "If you own them, you're nervous. If they disappoint, you can really get hurt."
The early flow of second-quarter reports continued to figure prominently in the movements of individual stocks.
Coca-Cola rose 2 1/8, to 64, to help lead the Dow's advance after the soft-drink company, beset by recent contamination problems in Europe, posted a profit of nearly $1 billion that met most Wall Street forecasts.
The Dow also drew a big boost from Hewlett-Packard, which rallied late in the day, closing 4-9/16 higher at 113. There was no news to explain the late surge, which may have been related to last-minute positioning before the expiration of options contracts on Friday.