The all-time high Thursday came after solid results from a number of U.S. companies including Mylan, a drugmaker, and several retailers.
The S&P 500 has fallen just short of a record the previous three days. On Thursday, the index increased nine points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,854, beating its Jan. 15 record by six points.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 74 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,272. The Nasdaq climbed 26 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,318.
J.C. Penney shares jumped 25 percent after the department store operator swung to a profit in the fourth quarter after posting a big loss in the same period a year earlier.