The best-known U.S. stock market index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, rose higher than ever before Wednesday, passing the 13,000 mark for the first time. 

The Dow rose as high as 13,107 during trading, before easing slightly to 13,090 at the close.

Major companies like Amazon and Boeing reported stronger earnings than investors expected, giving them hope these corporations will continue to prosper even though the U.S. economy is slowing down.  The Dow also gained after Alcoa said it might sell parts of its business, and economic reports showed rising orders for manufactured goods and rising sales for new homes.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a composite measure of what are called "blue-chip" stocks from the biggest U.S. companies in a variety of industries.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.