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November 11, 2013

Stocks edge higher on Wall Street; Dow at record

NEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrial average held at a record high on Wall Street Monday.

The market edged higher from Friday, when it got a lift from an unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs report for October. The surge in hiring made investors more optimistic that the U.S. economy is getting stronger.

Stock trading was muted as bond markets were closed for Veterans Day. Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange held a moment of silence in observance of the holiday.

The Dow has advanced for five straight weeks and is up 20 percent so far this year. The last time the Dow had a bigger advance for a whole year was 2003, when it rose 25 percent.

Other major indexes have also surged. Stocks have been propelled higher this year by economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve, a gradually improving economy and rising company earnings.

Given that the market is "up hugely" this year, investors may be hesitant to put more money into stocks, said Andres Garcia-Amaya, a global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. "At the same time, I don't think people are going to leave at this point," he said.

The Dow rose 19 points, or 0.1 percent, to 15,781 as of 3:05 p.m. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was flat at 1,771. The Nasdaq composite rose three points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 3,922.

Investors this week will look for evidence that Americans are ready to start spending for the holidays. Macy's, Wal-Mart, Nordstrom and Kohl's are scheduled to report their quarterly results.

About ninety percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have released their third-quarter earnings, and the majority beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

Earnings are forecast to grow by 5.6 percent in the July-to-September period, compared with 4.9 percent in the second quarter and 2.4 percent in the same period a year earlier.

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