* Dow posts 9-day winning streak for the first time since
* Market has more room for rally: technical analyst
* Strong retail sales put floor under market
* Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P 500 up 0.13 pct, Nasdaq up 0.09 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up on
Wednesday, with the Dow rising for the ninth straight session to
another record, buoyed by surprisingly strong retail sales that
suggested the economy is gaining momentum.
The Dow Jones industrial average's nine-day winning streak
is the longest consecutive run since November 1996.
But trading volume was light. Moves have been muted in
recent days as investors consolidate positions after a strong
run-up in the first three months of the year. Still, weakness in
stocks has been met with buying, which helped propel the
The broader S&P 500 is within striking distance of its
all-time closing high of 1,565.15 and about 1 percent away from
all-time intraday high of 1,576.09 - both set in 2007.
"I think we will soon see the S&P at all-time high levels.
I don't think the market has topped yet, and there is still
strength to move the market higher," said Ari Wald, technical
strategist at C&Co/PrinceRidge in New York.
"Will we see a correction of 10 percent or so soon? Not
imminently. We have not seen a divergence of behavior yet where
participants become more selective on which stocks to buy."
International Business Machine and Boeing Co
were the Dow's top two gainers. IBM shot up 0.7 percent to
$212.06. Boeing also jumped 0.7 percent - to $84.75 at the
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 5.22 points,
or 0.04 percent, to 14,455.28, another record closing high. The
Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 2.04 points, or
0.13 percent, to 1,554.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index
gained 2.80 points, or 0.09 percent, to end at 3,245.12.
Signs of strength in the economy and the Federal Reserve's
easy monetary policy have helped U.S. equities accelerate their
advance. The blue-chip Dow is up 10.3 percent for the year and
the benchmark S&P 500 index has gained 9 percent.
Wednesday's retail sales report reinforced the view that the
U.S. economy has momentum, even with the obstacles the recovery
is facing. Sales increased 1.1 percent in February, the largest
increase since September.
Investors had been looking for signs of any impact on
spending from stubbornly high unemployment and a higher payroll
tax that went into effect at the start of the year.
The Morgan Stanley retail index gained 0.7 percent.
Coach shares rose 1.8 percent to $49.67 after
Citigroup raised its rating on the luxury leather goods
company's stock to "buy" from "neutral."
Earlier, the stock had risen as high as $50.09 - up 2.6 percent
from Tuesday's close.
Walgreen jumped 4.2 percent to $42.78 after UBS
raised its rating to a "buy" from "neutral", and lifted its
price target to $48 from $41 on the stock of the largest U.S.
But Express Inc shares slid 3.2 percent to $18.25
after the apparel retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings and
said it was off to a slow start in the first quarter.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals shares lost 37.3 percent
to $7.79 after the biotechnology company forecast full-year
sales well below analysts' estimates.
Volume was below average, with roughly 5.5 billion shares
trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE
MKT, compared with the 2012 average daily closing volume of
about 6.45 billion.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the New York Stock
Exchange by a ratio of 17 to 13. On the Nasdaq, the positive
breadth was slightly wider, with about seven stocks rising for
every five that fell.