NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 index above 1,700 points for the first time.

Big sales numbers from automakers and an improving jobs picture are sending the stock market higher in early trading Thursday.

Shortly after trading opened, the S&P 500 index was up 14 points at 1,700, a gain of 0.9 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 128 points, or 0.8 percent, at 15,628.

Both indexes are trading at record levels. July was the best month for the stock market since January.

It's only been three months since the S&P 500 first closed above 1,600. The previous 100-point gain took much longer to achieve. The index first closed above 1,500 more than a decade ago, toward the end of the dot-com bubble in March 2000. The S&P then slumped twice before starting on its current bull run in March, 2009.

Here's a look at the previous times that the S&P 500 index, a broad measure of large-company stocks, first closed above round-number levels, measured in increments of 100 points.

1,600 --- May 3, 2013

1,500 --- March 22, 2000

1,400 --- July 9, 1999

1,300 --- March 15, 1999

1,200 --- Dec. 21, 1998

1,100 --- March 24, 1998

1,000 --- Feb. 2, 1998

900 --- July 2, 1997

800 --- Feb. 12, 1997

700 --- Oct. 4, 1996

600 --- Nov. 17, 1995

500 --- March 24, 1995

400 --- Dec. 26, 1991

300 --- March 23, 1987

200 --- Nov. 21, 1985

100 --- June 4, 1968

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