Wall St record: Dow closes at all-time high
The world’s best known sharemarket index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has set a new all-time high.
The Dow rose strongly from the start of trading on Wall Street and by mid-morning had surpassed its earlier intraday high of 14,198.10, set in October 2007.
At the close at 10am (NZ time), it was at 14,253.77, up 125.95 points, or 1.0%, as all stock sectors rose, led by technology, industrial and financial shares.
This is more than double its March 2009 low of 6547.05 in the wake of the global financial crisis.
The S&P 500 index was up 1.0%, to 1540 while the Nasdaq Composite added 1.3%, to 3224.
The market’s rise has not been accompanied by any significant corporate or economic news.
Rather it reflects a steady rise in stocks due to expanding US factory activity, higher spending by businesses and consumers, and a recovering housing market to new highs.
The milestone has come nearly four years into the recovery from the longest recession since the Great Depression.
The day's only release of economic data was the Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing purchasing managers index for February, which expanded at a faster pace than a month earlier and bucked economists' forecasts for it to slow.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve and other central banks have boosted equities by driving down yields in safe-haven assets.
The market has also showed signs of uncertainty. Wall Street had its first losing week of the year two weeks ago, when doubts started creeping in about the Fed’s dedication to its stimulus programmes.
The market seemed on the verge of a real breakdown as recently as Monday last week, after the results of Italy’s parliamentary elections raised fresh concerns about the state of Europe.
The historic day on Wall Street was preceded by strong performances in other world markets.
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was up 1.7% as eurozone retail sales rose more than expected in January and February’s composite purchasing managers index was revised higher.
Asian markets bounced from the previous session's sharp declines. China's Shanghai Composite, which tumbled 3.7% on Monday after the introduction of new measures to cool the country's property market, climbed 2.3%.
Australia's S&P ASX 200 gained 1.3% after stronger-than-expected retail-sales data and Japan's Nikkei Stock Average added 0.3% to close at a fresh 4½-year high.
Oil futures added 0.3% to $US90.43 a barrel, while March gold futures advanced 0.5% to $US1,580.30 an ounce.
The US dollar eased slightly against both the euro and the yen.