US STOCKS-Dow gains for 10th day, S&P 500 edges near record high

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Thu, Mar 14, 2013 20:50 hrs

* Dow ends at a record high once again

* S&P 500 takes late-day run at all-time closing high

* Jobless claims unexpectedly fall, down for third week

* Energy shares boost market; eBay rises after upgrade

* Dow up 0.6 pct; S&P 500 up 0.6 pct; Nasdaq up 0.4 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, March 14 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones industrial average extended its recent winning streak to 10 days on Thursday, a string of gains last seen in late 1996, and ended at another record high as investors were encouraged by data showing the labor market's recovery was improving.

The S&P 500 took a late-day run at its record closing high of 1,565.15, but ended just 2 points away. The 30-stock Dow Jones industrial average has been setting record highs since March 5.

U.S. equities have accelerated their rise without a major consolidation since the start of the year, driven by improvement in the economy and the Federal Reserve's continuation of its easy monetary policy.

"It's simply a natural progression for prices to move to new highs in order for the market to advance. I don't think it's scaring investors," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

"Fund flows really have reversed direction, and money started moving out of money markets and some from fixed income to equities. This kind of trend doesn't change easily so we can expect a lot more to come in."

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 83.86 points, or 0.58 percent, to 14,539.14, a record closing high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 8.71 points, or 0.56 percent, to 1,563.23, just about 2 points from its record closing high set on Oct. 9, 2007. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 13.81 points, or 0.43 percent, to end at 3,258.93.

Three months into the year, the Dow has shot up nearly 11 percent while the S&P 500 has gained 9.6 percent

Earlier Thursday, the Dow set another lifetime intraday high at 14,539.29.

Data on Thursday offered fresh signs of strength in the U.S. labor market as the number of filings for new unemployment benefits fell for the third week in a row.

The U.S. Producer Price Index rose in February by the most in five months as gasoline prices spiked, the Labor Department said in a separate report. There was, however, little sign of a broader increase in inflation pressures that could force the Fed to tighten monetary policy.

Boosted by the data, the housing sector index rose 1.5 percent and the Dow Jones Transportation Average added 0.8 percent.

Ten of the Dow's 30 stocks hit at least 52-week highs, including Walt Disney Co. International Business Machines shares climbed to a lifetime intraday high of $215.85, and traded at the close at $215.80, up 1.8 percent.

Energy shares led the Dow and the S&P 500 higher, with the S&P energy sector index gaining 1.3 percent. Chevron was among the Dow's biggest percentage gainers, rising 1.4 percent to $120, after earlier hitting a fresh 52-week intraday high of $120.26.

Apple Inc shares rose 1 percent to $432.50. Its rival Samsung Electronics Co launched the latest Galaxy phone in New York on Thursday.

Shares of eBay, operator of one of the largest online marketplaces, climbed 1.6 percent to $51.80 after Evercore Partners raised its rating to "overweight."

But on the downside, shares of Amazon, the world's biggest Internet retailer, fell 3.4 percent to $265.74 after JPMorgan cut its rating on the stock to "neutral" from "overweight" and lowered its price target to $300 from $333.

E*Trade shares lost 8.2 percent to $10.85 after Citadel LLC, its largest investor, said it is selling its entire stake in the discount brokerage and bank company.

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