The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes reached record highs on Tuesday as investors seized on economic indicators they think will lead the U.S. Federal Reserve to continue its stimulus program.

The Dow rose 111.42 points, or 0.72 percent, to end the trading day at 15,680.35, up from the previous record close of 15,676.94 points, set on Sept. 18.

The S&P advanced 9.84 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,771.95 points.

Also rising was the Nasdaq Composite Index, which gained 12.21 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 3,952.34.

Economic data released Tuesday, notably a report showing a steep decline in U.S. consumer confidence, led investors and analysts to conclude that the Fed will decide against winding down its stimulus effort in the near term.

The central bank's policymaking body, the Federal Open Market Committee, began its scheduled two-day meeting on Tuesday.

September's worse-than-expected unemployment figures were seen as a reflection of an economy that is still struggling to gain traction.

Market watchers suggest the weak economic indicators, combined with the disruption caused by this month's partial government shutdown, has delayed any Federal Reserve move in the direction of "tapering" purchases of bonds. EFE