Stocks inch higher; Dow on seven-day streak

Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Monday with the Dow Jones industrial average rising for the seventh day running. The stock market's fast start has prompted some analysts to worry that the rally could quickly fizzle out. 

Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Stock traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange Monday. Boeing was the Dow's top stock Monday, surging 2 percent.

The stock market crept higher Monday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to its seventh straight day of gains.

Boeing was the Dow's top stock, surging 2 percent. A Boeing executive reportedly said he's confident the aircraft maker has figured out a fix for the battery problems that have grounded the 787 Dreamliner.

The last time the Dow rose for seven consecutive days was March 2012. The latest streak began last Tuesday, when the blue-chip index blew past its all-time high, then kept climbing to end the week up 2 percent.

On Monday, the Dow rose 50.22 points to end the day at 14,447.29, an increase of 0.3 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 5.04 points, also 0.3 percent, to close at 1,556.22. The index, the most popular market measure for investment funds, is nine points shy of its all-time closing high reached in October 2007.

The Nasdaq composite added 8.51 points to 3,252.87.

The S&P 500 gains were broad, though slight. Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose, led by financial companies. That's a sign many investors believe the market and economy are on solid footing, said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. When the economy picks up, financial firms and companies in other cyclical industries tend to benefit more than others.

For the year, the Dow is up 10 percent and the S&P 500 up 9 percent.

The stock market's fast start has prompted some analysts to worry that the rally could quickly fizzle out. Although recent economic reports have painted a better picture, the U.S. economy is still growing slowly. It expanded at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the final three months of 2012. And Europe remains in a recession.

There were no major economic reports to drive trading on Monday. Later in the week, the government will release figures for the federal budget in February, as well as reports on consumer prices and industrial production.

On Friday, the Labor Department said that U.S. employers added 236,000 workers to their payrolls in February, pushing the unemployment rate down to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008.

In the Treasury market, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.05 percent from 2.04 percent late Friday.

The 10-year Treasury yield began the year around 1.70 percent and has climbed steadily higher since then as worries about a recession have eased. Traders have shifted money out of the Treasury market, lifting yields up.

Among other companies making moves Monday:

Dick's Sporting Goods sank 11 percent to $45.11, after the retailer posted slightly weaker earnings and revenue than analysts had expected. The Pittsburgh-based company said it responded to a warm December by cutting its inventory of cold-weather clothes. But that move likely hampered sales when temperatures dropped in January.

— News that billionaire investor Carl Icahn will get access to Dell's private financial records lifted shares in the computer maker. Icahn is fighting Michael Dell's plan to take the struggling company private for $24 billion, claiming the purchase price is too low. Dell'sstock rose 21 cents to $14.37.

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