Seeing particular strength were tech shares, which rose 1.3%.
Janet Yellen wrapped up her semiannual congressional testimony on monetary policy, noting that the Fed would consider the yield curve when setting rates, which implied a preference for a steepening of the curve based on rising inflation expectations.
But Yellen cautioned that boosting United States economic growth to the Trump administration's target of three percent would be "quite challenging", in part because of difficulty accelerating productivity growth.
"Yesterday's move was in response to Yellen comments that should inflation remain below the 2 percent target rate, the central bank will be less aggressive in their tightening program", said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.
Banks, which benefit from higher interest rates and are scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Friday, fared less well.
Also among the top gainers was biotherapeutics firm CSL Ltd, a sector heavyweight, which pushed the healthcare index almost 2 percent higher, its best intra-day performance since mid-June. It's risen 8.2% over the last six months, also the best first-half performance since 2013.
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In the 12 months through June the producer level inflation, or PPI, increased 2.0 percent, above the 1.9 per cent rise expected.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 16.27 points, or 0.26 percent, at 6,290.71.
The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 24 points, or 0.1 percent, to 21,556.
Data showed US producer prices unexpectedly rose in June as sustained increases in the cost of services offset declining energy prices, suggesting a recent moderation in inflation was likely temporary. The news boosted other retailers, with Wal-Mart up 1.4 per cent and Costco edging up 0.8 per cent.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,767 to 792. On the Nasdaq, 1,722 issues fell and 919 advanced.
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