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Over 100 cos. hit new highs, helped by Dow surge

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BREE FOWLER | March 5, 2013 04:27 PM EST | AP


NEW YORK — More than 100 companies ranging from retailers to Internet giants, food makers and industrial companies rose to annual, multiyear or all-time highs Tuesday as the Dow Jones surged to its own record peak, giving a needed boost to investment portfolios and retirement funds that took big hits during the Great Recession.

While the swell of optimism surrounding the Dow Jones industrial average helped shares of about a quarter of the companies listed on the Standard & Poor's 500 index cruise to new levels, many of the day's records were set with relatively small share price increases that followed several days or weeks of steady gains.

One of the day's biggest winners was Home Depot Inc. While its shares closed up less than 1 percent, its Tuesday peak of $70.97 marked an all-time high. In recent months, the home improvement retailer has gotten a boost from the slight rebound in the housing industry and in the days since it announced better-than-expected quarterly results, the company's shares have risen about 10 percent.

Arguably the most notable technology company to hit an all-time high was Google Inc., whose shares rose as much as 2 percent to $840.15 in heavy trading, easily surpassed their previous peak of $822.84 reached the day before.

The company has posted significant gains in recent months amid renewed confidence in its ability to reap steadily and higher profits from its dominance of Internet search and prominence in the mobile device market. Since the beginning of this year, Google shares have gained about 18 percent.

Software maker Intuit Inc. also hit an all-time high, adding to a run that began late last month after it reported strong earnings despite a delayed start to the tax preparation season. Since then, shares of the maker of QuickBooks, Quicken and TurboTax have risen about 8 percent. Also on Tuesday, shares of Adobe Systems Inc., which makes Photoshop photo-editing software, rose to their highest price since September 2008.

J.M. Smucker Co., General Mills Inc. and Kellogg Co. were among the food companies to hit all-time highs. Smucker's peak marked a fifth-straight day of record highs. Over the past year, the company's shares have gained about 26 percent.

Meanwhile, General Mills shares advanced past an all-time high that was set on Friday. The company, which makes breakfast staples such as Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt, has seen its shares increase about 11 percent over the past month. Rival Kellogg's record high was its second straight. Its shares are up about 10 percent this year.

Shares of aerospace and defense giant Boeing Co. reached levels not seen since 2011, and industrial companies also posted significant records, with 3M Co., Danaher Corp., Airgas Inc., Roper Industries Inc. and Genuine Parts Co. all hitting all-time highs.

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