Dow closes above 13,000 for first time since 2008

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Tuesday above 13,000 for the first time since the financial crisis five years ago, as stocks rallied despite a mixed bag of economic news.

The Dow, which had been testing the 13,000 level in recent sessions, finally finished a tick above it, at 13,005.12, up by 23.61 points (0.18 percent) from Monday's close.

It was the highest finish for the 30-stock index of big US companies since May 19, 2008, before Lehman Brothers bankruptcy sent markets into a tailspin.

"It's proof that confidence has returned to the market," said Gregori Volokhine at Meeschaert New York, noting that the Dow "had tried to top this symbolic level several times."

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite climbed 20.60 points (0.69 percent) to 2,986.76.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the markets, advanced 4.59 (0.34 percent) to 1,372.18, its highest close since June 2008.

Opening trade was dampened by the Commerce Department's report that new orders for US durable goods made a broad-based 4.0 percent dive in January after three straight months of gains.

Adding to the negative mood was the closely watched S&P-Case Shiller housing market report, which showed home prices continued to fall in December.

But offsetting the gloom was the Conference Board's report on consumer confidence, which rebounded much stronger than expected in February after a fall the month before.

On the Dow, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble added 1.0 percent, Bank of America was up 1.0 percent and Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, rose 0.8 percent.

Apple was a big driver on the Nasdaq, adding 1.84 percent. Media reports said the company will launch the next iPad on March 7.

GM shares tumbled 1.2 percent after the Wall Street Journal reported that it would take a stake in French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, which would raise one billion euros ($1.3 billion) through a rights issue to facilitate the deal.

Shares in Chinese online advertising group Sina Corp surged 11.26 percent despite the company's missing analyst earnings estimates for its fourth quarter.

Chipmaker Micron Technology jumped 3.7 percent after announcing a deal with Intel to expand its NAND flash memory joint venture. Dow member Intel added 1.3 percent.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.93 percent from 1.92 percent on Monday, while the 30-year yield increased to 3.06 percent from 3.04 percent.

Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

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