New stock market milestone: Dow 15K


NEW YORK — Just two months after recovering the last of its losses from the financial crisis, the Dow Jones industrial average charged higher Tuesday, closing above 15,000 for the first time.

It was another milestone in the market’s epic ascent of 2013. Good economic reports, strong corporate earnings and fresh support from central banks have eased investors’ concerns about another economic slowdown. Many had been on the lookout for signs a spring swoon would derail the rally, as happened in each of the past three years.

Instead, Wall Street has climbed almost 15 percent since Jan. 1.

“The thing that’s been driving stocks is rising confidence,” said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. “Economic growth, job creation and the housing market have been better than expected.”

News of stronger hiring over the past three months briefly propelled the Dow over 15,000 on Friday, but it ended the week below that mark.

Wall Street followed Japanese and European markets higher after they responded to good news about central bank stimulus and the German economy. In the U.S., the market got a lift from higher quarterly profits at satellite TV company DirecTV and watchmaker Fossil.

The Dow closed at 15,056.20, up 87.31 points, or 0.6 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 8.46 points to 1,625.96, a gain of 0.5 percent. Both indexes reached all-time highs earlier this year, then kept climbing, largely driven by optimism the U.S. economy will continue gaining strength.

The gains piled up with the growing realization among investors that the traditional threats to a rising market — higher interest rates, falling profits, a possible recession — are unlikely to appear anytime soon. What’s more, with interest rates near record lows, they see few other places to put their money.

In other trading, the Nasdaq composite rose 3.66 points to 3,396.63, up 0.1 percent.

Japanese stocks surged, pushing the Nikkei above 14,000 for the first time in nearly five years. The Nikkei has jumped 36 percent this year after the Bank of Japan announced a new aggressive monetary policy to get the country out of its two-decade stagnation.