NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock markets jumped Thursday, driving the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average to new closing and intra-day highs after a spate of upbeat earnings reports led by UnitedHealth (UNH), and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress the central bank was staying its course on stimulus.
The S&P 500 gained 0.5% to 1,689.37 after trading as high as 1,693.12 . The advances bring the index's year-to-date gain to 18.5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 0.5% to 15,548.54 after touching an intraday high of 15,589.40 while the Nasdaq was little changed at 3,611.28.
UnitedHealth rose 6.5% to close at $70.55 after the health insurer beat second-quarter expectations by 15 cents at $1.40 a share after enrollment accelerated and the company raised the lower end of its full-year earnings outlook.
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