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May 7, 2013

Market history

Dow Jones industrial average experiences first close above 15,000

CROSS ROADS — NEW YORK  — The Dow Jones industrial average punched through another milestone Tuesday: its first close above 15,000.

The Dow rose 87.31 points to 15,056.20 points Tuesday, a gain of 0.6 percent.

It was another chapter in the market's epic ascent in 2013. Good economic reports, higher corporate profits and support from central banks have eased investors' concerns that another economic slowdown could upend the market.

Two months ago the Dow recovered the last of its losses from the financial crisis. So far this year it's up 15 percent.

Wall Street followed world markets higher Tuesday. U.S. stocks rose after companies including satellite TV provider DirecTV and watchmaker Fossil reported higher quarterly profits. Markets rose in Japan and Europe in response to good news about central bank stimulus and the German economy.

The Dow and broader Standard & Poor's 500 index are trading at record levels, driven by optimism that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover and as the Federal Reserve maintains its stimulus program. The Dow punched through 15,000 Friday after the U.S. government reported a sharp pickup in hiring last month.

"We don't think people are giving enough credit to the strength of the economy," said Ryan Detrick, a senior technical strategist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. "We still like the market."

Higher profits at U.S. companies have been a key driver for the stock market. More than 80 percent of companies in the S&P 500 index have reported first-quarter earnings, and profits are at a record level.

Of companies that have reported, almost 70 percent have beaten the expectations of Wall Street analysts for income, according to S&P Capital IQ data. Those analysts expect earnings to rise 5 percent for the first quarter and to keep on climbing throughout the year.

Fossil, a maker of watches and handbags, was among companies reporting earnings Tuesday. The stock leapt $8.92, or 9 percent, to $107.88 after the company said its earnings rose 24 percent on higher sales. DirecTV, the country's largest provider of satellite TV services, rose $3.99, or 6.9 percent, to $61.95 after its earnings beat expectations of financial analysts. The company's saw subscriber growth in the U.S. and Latin America.

The Dow had its 17th straight Tuesdays of increases. The only day of the week with a longer series of consecutive gains is Wednesday, which logged a streak of 24 in 1968, according to Schaeffer's Detrick.

Other global markets also rose.

Japanese stocks surged, pushing the Nikkei up 3.6 percent to 14,180.24 on its first day of trading following the Golden Week holiday. The index is trading above 14,000 for the first time in nearly five years. The Nikkei has jumped 36 percent this year after the Bank of Japan announced a new aggressive monetary policy to get the country out of its two-decade stagnation.

In Europe, Germany's DAX touched a record of 8,195 after surprisingly strong industrial orders, before giving up some of its gain. The index closed up 69 points, or 0.9 percent, at 8,181.

Detrick said he was particularly encouraged by the resurgence in smaller stocks, which suggested a broad recovery beyond larger companies. The Russell 2000 index of small companies has gained 14 percent this year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 8.46 points to 1,625.96, also a record close. The S&P's increase was equivalent to 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq rose 3.66 points to 3,396.63, or 0.1 percent.

In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 1.78 percent from 1.76 percent Monday. The yield has risen this week after going as low as 1.63 percent last week, its lowest level of the year. The rising yield means demand is slipping for low-risk U.S. government debt as traders shift money into riskier assets like stocks.

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