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U.S. stocks inch higher after Dow's record day

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- After barreling through a record the day before, the Dow Jones industrial average meandered higher on Wednesday.

The Dow edged up 42.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 14,296.24. An encouraging job-market report helped nudge the stock market up and pushed bond prices lower.

On Tuesday, the Dow blew past the previous all-time high it hit more than five years ago. The index of 30 big corporations has more than doubled since hitting a low during the financial crisis in March 2009.

The question now is, how much longer can it keep climbing?

In the past, stock indexes have often drifted lower in the months after breaking through previous record highs. David Brown, director of Sabrient Systems, an investment research firm, sees plenty of reasons for the market to keep climbing, however. People are putting their cash into the stock market again. And the alternatives, like bonds, are hardly appealing.

"There is literally nowhere else to go," Brown said. "Do you really want to make 1.9 percent on a 10-year Treasury? You won't make any money doing that."

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.67 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,541.46. The Nasdaq slipped 1.77, less than 0.1 percent, to 3,222.36.

Companies added 198,000 U.S. workers to their payrolls in February, according to payment processor ADP. The firm also said employers added 23,000 more jobs in January than first reported.

The ADP survey suggests that government spending cuts have yet to deter employers from hiring. Investors look to the ADP survey as a preview to the closely watched Labor Department report, which comes out Friday.

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