Dow Jones Average Ends Trading Day Over 13,000 Mark

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

( - The Dow Jones industrial average set a new record on Wednesday when it ended trading over the 13,000 level for the first time, completing a 1,000-point surge over the past six months.

Wall Street's best known market climbed 135.95 points during the mid-week trading session to end the day at 13,089.89, a new record. Also gaining ground on Wednesday were the Nasdaq composite index, up 23.35 to 2,547.89, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which rose 15.01 to close the session at 1,495.42.

The Dow, which broke the 12,000 level on Oct. 18, reached the 13,000 milestone in just 129 trading days, while the market took more than seven years to climb from 11,000 to 12,000. All three of the major U.S. markets are up more than 5 percent so far this year.

Part of Wednesday's surge was due to the fact that many companies' first-quarter earnings have surpassed analysts' projections, including soft-drink producer PepsiCo, Inc., materials manufacturer Corning, Inc., and Dow component Boeing Co.

About two-thirds of U.S. companies so far have reported earnings that were in line with or higher than analyst expectations, Jim Herrick, director of equity trading at Baird & Co., told the Associated Press.

"We've had pockets of companies report better earnings, and in light of the Fed not appearing to raise rates anytime soon, that bodes well for the market," said Herrick.

In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that orders for durable goods rose last month even as sales of new homes rebounded slightly in March.

While the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 are now at their highest points in six and a half years, they remain below their record levels set in March 2000.

Nevertheless, the markets' ride has been a bumpy one, as the Dow lost 416 points on Feb. 27 due to fears that the U.S. economy was headed into a recession and fell 90 points two week ago after minutes from the last meeting of the Federal Reserve showed that the bank executives were concerned about further inflation.

But little of that pessimism shone through on Wednesday.

"I think it means that the beat goes on and that, specifically, the underlying forces which have been driving the market for more than four years are still intact," William Hummer, principal at Wayne Hummer, Inc., told the Financial Times.

In overseas trading, only Japan's Nikkei stock average lost ground on Wednesday, falling more than one percent. Britain's FTSE 100 closed up 0.50 percent, Germany's DAX index gained 1.00 percent, and France's CAC-40 added 1.04 percent.

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