SUMMER BREAKOUT: Encouraging earnings from Cisco and hopeful signs from the housing market drove the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index near four-year highs.

A CATALYST: The government reported that construction of single-family homes dipped last month, but building permits jumped to their highest level since August 2008, a hint of stronger construction in coming months.

CISCO SURPRISE: Cisco Systems led the 30 stocks in the Dow, surging 10 percent. The world's largest maker of computer networking equipment reported earnings late Wednesday that beat expectations. It also raised its quarterly dividend.