Economy bulls drive the Dow to record high

NEW YORK REPORT

US stocks rallied yesterday, with the Dow climbing more than 100 points to another record close and the S&P 500 coming within striking distance of its all-time closing high, as strong data on home prices and manufacturing fed optimism about the economy.

Dow Jones industrial average initially surpassed its 2007 record closing high on 5 March. Since then, the Dow has reached a series of subsequent nominal record highs.

In yesterday’s session the S&P 500 made yet another attempt at a record, but failed to break above the all-time closing high for the second day this week. At the close, the S&P 500 was only 1.38 points below its lifetime closing high.

On Monday, the benchmark index traded just a quarter point below its record closing high, which stands at 1,565.15 set on 9 October 2007, and then retreated as investors sold some equities to cash in on gains in the wake of the news out of Europe.

Data showed US single-family home prices rose in January at the fastest pace in more than six years, while long-lasting US manufactured goods, also known as durable goods orders, shot up in February.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 111.90 points, or 0.77 per cent, to end at 14,559.65, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 12.08 points, or 0.78 per cent, to finish at 1,563.77. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 17.18 points, or 0.53 per cent, to close at 3,252.48.

The semiconductor index climbed 0.9 per cent, buoyed by Intel shares, up 2.9 per cent at $21.77.

The CBOE Volatility Index or VIX, the barometer of investor anxiety, fell 7.1 per cent to close at 12.77. Volume was roughly 5.2bn shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT.