Updated from 4:17 p.m. EST

An advance in the tech sector led Wall Street to the upside Thursday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high.

When trading came to an end, the Dow had risen 72.82 points, or 0.59%, to 12,514.98, its best-ever finish. The S&P 500 added 8.97 points, or 0.63%, at 1423.82, and the Nasdaq Composite was ahead by 25.52 points, or 1.04%, at 2484.85.

On the Dow, Intel ( INTC) and Microsoft ( MSFT) were higher by 1.9% and 3.5%, respectively.

Gains of 3.2% or more in eBay ( EBAY) and Level 3 ( LVLT) helped boost the Nasdaq.

Volume rose from Wednesday's levels, with 2.96 billion shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange. Nearly 2.42 billion shares traded on the Nasdaq. Winners outpaced losers 2 to 1.

Crude oil prices extended their recent downtrend. The February futures contract plummeted $2.14 to $51.88 a barrel, the lowest finish since May 2005. Through the previous close, crude prices had already fallen 11.5% for the year.

The Amex Oil Index was lower by 0.4% and the Philadelphia Oil Service Sector Index dropped 1.3%. Meanwhile, airline stocks among the winners of the session, with the Amex Airline Index adding 3.1%.

The dollar was mixed against the world's other major currencies. The news of the day in the foreign-exchange market was coming out of Europe, where the European Central Bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged but the Bank of England raised rates by a quarter point.

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