By Caroline Valetkevitch
(Reuters) - The Dow ended above 18,000 for the first time since April on Wednesday as declines in the dollar lifted some commodity-related shares and boosted the outlook for multinationals.
The S&P 500 materials index <.SPLRCM> climbed 0.6 percent following gains in copper and gold prices. Energy shares were <.SPNY> lower despite a jump in oil prices.
The benchmark S&P 500, up for a third straight session, is now about 12 points shy of its all-time closing high of 2,130.82.
Helping sentiment was a weaker dollar, which tends to benefit U.S. multinationals that derive a large portion of their sales from overseas. The S&P industrials index <.SPLRCI> rose 0.7 percent, the day's best-performing S&P index.
"The weaker dollar and strength in commodity names is certainly helping to fuel the market's strength," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. "Multinational companies are all benefiting and helping to drag the market higher."
The dollar <.DXY> fell to a five-week low against a basket of currencies as traders reduced bets of an imminent U.S. interest rate increase.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 66.77 points, or 0.37 percent, to 18,005.05, closing above 18,000 for the first time since April 27.
The S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 6.99 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,119.12, while the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 12.89 points, or 0.26 percent, to 4,974.64.
With the S&P so close to its highs, "I do think the level around 2,130 ... is going to provide some psychological resistance in the market, and you may see a little pause there," James said.
Federal Reserve officials meet next Tuesday and Wednesday, and the U.S. central bank is expected to leave rates unchanged. Despite surprisingly weak monthly jobs data last Friday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen boosted sentiment Monday by painting a mostly upbeat picture of the economy.
Bucking the recent trend in retail stocks, Lululemon Athletica Inc <LULU.O> shares rose 4.9 percent to $71.48 after first-quarter sales beat analyst expectations.
Among the day's decliners, shares of VeriFone Systems <PAY.N> fell 24.7 percent to $21.27, a day after announcing lower-than-expected earnings and said it intends to reduce headcount and conduct a strategic review to address underperforming businesses.
About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 6.8 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,034 to 981, for a 2.07-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,844 issues rose and 980 fell for a 1.88-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 53 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 106 new highs and 24 new lows.
(Editing by Nick Zieminski and James Dalgleish)