NEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrial average surpassed 12,000 Wednesday for the first time in two and half years as investors shrugged off weak corporate earnings and focused on President Barack Obama's call to overhaul taxes on businesses.
The average climbed to 12,013 early Wednesday. That was the highest level during the day since June 20, 2008.
Obama said in his State of the Union address late Tuesday he wanted to close corporate tax loopholes and use the additional revenue to lower corporate tax rates for the first time in 25 years.
That change would be popular with business leaders from both political parties. The U.S. has some of the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world.
"If he can take steps to simplify the tax codes, be it for individuals or corporations, I think it would be a lot easier to do business," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35, or 0.3 percent, to 12,013 in morning trading.
Optimism about Obama's speech offset weak earnings reports from Boeing Co., Xerox Corp. and Eastman Kodak Co.
Boeing was the worst performer of the 30 stocks in the Dow average. Boeing fell 3.3 percent after saying its 2011 profit would be hurt by delays to its new 787 aircraft and higher pension expenses.
Xerox fell 9 percent. The company issued a weak earnings forecast and said its longtime chief financial officer, Lawrence A. Zimmerman, was retiring.
Eastman Kodak fell 8.2 percent. The company's income fell 95 percent on weaker revenue from its camera business and lower royalties from digital imaging.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 7, or 0.6 percent, to 1,298. The Nasdaq composite index rose 22, or 0.8 percent, to 2,742.
Bond prices fell, sending their yields higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.38 percent from 3.34 percent late Tuesday.
Later in the day, the Federal Reserve will release a statement from its latest policy meeting. It's not expected to announce any changes to interest rates or the Fed's $600 billion bond-buying program.