BIG PHARMA: Pfizer gave the Dow a lift, after the company's stock rose following a strong earnings report. That helped push the index closer to 14,000. Eli Lilly, another drugmaker, also gained after its earnings beat analysts' expectations.
MOMENTUM: The Dow Jones industrial average has gained seven of the last eight days. The S&P 500 has closed higher nine out the past 10 sessions.
SCORECARD: Analysts currently expect earnings for S&P 500 companies to improve by an average of 4.7 percent for the fourth quarter of 2012, according to S&P Capital IQ data. That's an improvement on the previous quarter, when earnings grew 2.4 percent.