The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 5, 2013

Dow Jones industrial average surges to record

NEW YORK —  The Dow has never been higher.

  The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 100 points early today, climbing to an all-time high, powered by China's strong economic growth targets and a jump in European retail sales.

  The Dow gained 103 points, or 0.8 percent, to 14,239 as of 10 a.m. EST, surpassing its previous record high of 14,198 set on Oct. 11, 2007.

  The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 12 points, also 0.8 percent, to 1,538.

  The S&P is also within striking distance of its own record close of 1,565.

  The Nasdaq composite gained 32 points, or 1 percent, to 3,213.62.

Stocks have rallied this year on optimism that the housing market is recovering and companies are slowly starting to hire again. Strong corporate earnings have also helped increase demand.

The market has also benefited from economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve and other global central banks. The U.S. central bank is buying $85 billion each month in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities to keep long-term interest rates very low.

Home builder PulteGroup rose 42 cents to $20.12 following news that home prices rose at the fastest pace in almost six years in January, a sign that the housing market is gaining momentum as it nears the spring selling

season. Home prices rose 9.7 percent in January from a year ago and had the biggest gain since April 2006, according to data released by CoreLogic.

  The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, rose one basis point to 1.89 percent.

 Among other stocks making big moves, Ascena Retail Group gained $1.73 to $18.30 after the clothing store reported stronger-than-expected sales in its most recent quarter.

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