* Dow up 1.1 pct, S&P up 1.1 pct, Nasdaq up 1.2 pct
* Dow breaks through record high set in 2007
* Extends strong rally for 2013 so far
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, March 5 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones Industrial
Average surged to a record on Tuesday, breaking through levels
last seen in 2007 as investors poured money into blue-chip
stocks in expectation of more gains amid signs of a
strengthening U.S. economy.
The oldest U.S. stock market gauge has gained more than 8
percent so far this year, ahead of the S&P 500 and Nasdaq
Composite Index. Nine of its component stocks reached new
52-week highs on a day when nearly 400 stocks hit new yearly
highs on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Dow is currently also on track to surpass the record
closing high set on Oct. 9, 2007, when it closed at 14,164.53.
"It has been a long, grinding recovery, but the private
economy is holding its own in the face of very challenging
policy and political risks," said Stephen Wood, chief market
strategist at Russell Investments in New York, which has about
$180 billion in assets under management.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 152.48
points, or 1.08 percent, at 14,280.30. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 16.58 points, or 1.09 percent, at 1,541.78.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 39.23 points, or 1.23
percent, at 3,221.27.
The latest sign of an improving economy was data showing the
pace of growth in the vast U.S. services sector accelerated to
its fastest pace in a year in February.
Among shares hitting all-time highs were Walt Disney Co
and Post-It note maker 3M. All 10 of the S&P
500's industry sectors rose.
"There is a lot of momentum and rotation going into equities
from cash and bonds, and right now sentiment seems to have the
upper hand over fundamentals," said Wood.
The broad benchmark S&P 500 is at a five-year high but still
away from its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09.
Analysts said Tuesday's advance was due less to one specific
catalyst and more to the same factors that have been driving the
rally this year, namely, attractive valuations and liquidity due
to easy monetary policies adopted by major central banks around
"Stocks are close to fair value, but very cheap relative to
the bond market and to cash, which is very expensive," Said
David Kelly, Managing Director and Chief Market Strategist at JP
Morgan Asset Management in New York.
"Plenty of risks remain, but they are smaller - and they
feel smaller to investors."
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow rose above
14,198.10, the intraday all-time high reached in October 2007,
when the world was heading toward the financial crisis.
Tech stocks jumped, pushing the Nasdaq up more than 1
percent. Qualcomm Inc was one of the biggest gainers,
with shares up 2.3 percent at $68.15 after the world's leading
supplier of chips for cellphones said it was raising its
quarterly cash dividend by 40 percent.
United Technologies Corp was the biggest gainer on
the Dow index, up 2.3 percent at $91.18, followed by Bank of
America, up 1.8 percent at $11.61.