The Associated Press

NEW YORK - Stocks steadily gained ground Wednesday and closed broadly higher on Wall Street as investors rewarded solid earnings results from several large companies.

The S&P 500 got off to a weak start but gained steam and closed at a record high. Smaller stocks far outpaced larger ones and gave the Russell 2000 the biggest gain among major indexes. The Nasdaq gained ground all day and also closed at a record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell.

Technology stocks were the brightest spot in the market. A solid earnings report from Texas Instruments pushed the chipmaker's stock higher and made the sector the biggest gainer.

Industrial stocks moved broadly higher after UPS beat Wall Street's financial forecasts. The solid results from the delivery service counteracted steep drops from Boeing and Caterpillar, which both reported weak results.

Anthem sank 4.5% after the insurer reported higher costs. UnitedHealth Group lost 1.5%. The health care sector fell broadly.

The Russell 2000, which focuses on smaller stocks, outshone every other index. It rose 25.46 points, or 1.6%, to 1,580.42.

The S&P 500 index rose 14.09 points, or 0.5%, to 3,019.56, putting it on track for a weekly gain.

Boeing and Caterpillar weighed down The Dow Jones Industrial Average. It fell 79.22 points, or 0.3%, to 27,269.97.

The Nasdaq rose 70.10 points, or 0.8%, to 8,321.50.

Corporate results have been mixed this week, though investors are jumping on some of the best performers during this latest round. This is a heavy week for financial results, with nearly 150 major companies reporting results through Friday. Stocks have been volatile over the last few weeks as investors assess the results to gain a better picture of the overall economy.

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