Stocks have surged since the start of the year. The Dow is up 7.4 percent and the S&P 500 has climbed 6.3 percent.
But rising even more is the Dow Jones transportation average, which is up 13 percent for the year at 5,989.37. Airlines like Delta and Alaska Air are powering the gains.
"If the economy is doing well you've got to be moving stuff around," said Phil Orlando, chief equity strategists at Federated Investors. "You've got to be moving people on airplanes, you've got to be moving cargo with trains or trucks, or UPS."
Discount retailers rose Wednesday. Dollar Tree jumped $4.31, or 11 percent, to $45.39 after reporting a 22 percent profit increase. Dollar General rose $1.61, or 3.6 percent, to $46.56. Family Dollar Stores rose $1.39, or 2.5 percent, to $57.68.
Earnings for S&P 500 companies will climb 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the third straight quarter of growth, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose two basis points to 1.90 percent.
Among other stocks making big moves;
— Retailer J.C. Penney fell $3.07, or 15 percent, to $18.09 after the market closed. That drop followed a quarterly loss that was much larger than expected.
— Priceline.com rose $17.42, or 2.6 percent, to $695.91 after reporting that its net income jumped in the fourth quarter as bookings grew.
— First Solar plunged $4.32, or 13.8 percent, to $27.04 after the company posted disappointing sales for the fourth quarter and gave a weak early outlook for the year.
— Target fell 93 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $63.12 after the No. 2 discount chain's quarterly income fell 2 percent as it dealt with intense competition during the holiday shopping season.
— DreamWorks Animation fell 30 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $16.31 after posting a loss of $82.7 million. The company booked a write-off on its November release "Rise of the Guardians" and on an upcoming movie that needs to be reworked.