Standard & Poor's 500 climbs to an all-time high

Trader Gregory Rowe, center, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, a day after the Dow Jones industrial average closed at its second all-time high in a week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew

Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET

NEW YORK Stocks rose sharply on Wall Street Wednesday, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index to an all-time high.

The S&P 500 surpassed the all-time high of 1,576 it set in October 2007 during mid-morning trading. Other indexes also rose, led by technology shares. The Dow Jones industrial average gained almost 130 points.

The stock market is climbing again, reversing course from last week when investors' confidence took a blow from an unexpectedly poor report on the U.S. job market and other signs that the U.S. economy slowed in March. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 index had surged in the first three months of the year and are still up 12.9 percent and 11.1 percent respectively in 2013.

The markets' weak performance recently -- the Dow lost ground on three days out of five last week -- could be passing. The Dow is on track for its third straight gain and another record high close, having set its latest one on Tuesday.

Cameron Hinds, chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank, said rising house prices, coupled with a strong stock market, are creating a virtuous circle for consumers and is bolstering investors' confidence.

"We are starting to develop what I would call a positive confidence loop," Hinds said. "Last year we we're lacking in confidence."

At 12:39 p.m. ET, the S&P was up 19 points to 1,588. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 143 points to 14,816. Intel was the biggest gainer in the Dow, up 3 percent at $22.35.

The Nasdaq composite, which is heavily weighted with technology stocks, had the biggest percentage gain of the three main indexes, rising 56 points to 3,294.

The information technology industry was the best performer of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500, gaining 1.7 percent. The industry has been among the worst performers this year, advancing just 4.6 percent, while the broader market has risen 10.8 percent.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its March policy meeting ahead of schedule Wednesday morning. The minutes indicated that some Fed members wanted to end the bank's stimulus program relatively soon, saying the costs likely outweigh the benefits. The Fed's stimulus program has been one of the key factors driving stocks higher this year.

Investors may welcome signs that the economy is recovering well enough that it may no longer need support from the Fed, said Brian Gendreau, a market strategist at Cetera Financial Group.

"The idea that the Fed thinks that we are closer to the restoration of normality might be positive for the market," said Gendreau.

CarMax rose $1.09, or 2.6 percent, to $22.35 after the used car dealership chain said its fourth-quarter profit rose 13 percent as improved inventory and financing offers drove up sales.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.79 percent from 1.75 percent late Tuesday.