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Stocks creep higher after record week

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The Associated Press | March 11, 2013 03:01 PM EST | AP

NEW YORK — The stock market crept higher Monday, and the Dow Jones industrial average was on track for its seventh straight day of gains.

The Dow rose 34 points to 14,432, an increase of 0.2 percent. The blue-chip index blew past its all-time high last Tuesday, then kept climbing to end the week up 2 percent.

Boeing was the Dow's top stock on Monday, rising nearly 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 Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up four points, or 0.28 percent, to 1,555. The S&P 500 index, the most popular market measure for investment funds, is 10 points from its all-time closing high of 1,565 from October 2007.

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 lead in gains.

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 in low gear, expanding at an annual rate of just 0.1 percent in the final three months of 2012. And Europe remains in a recession.

In other trading on Monday, the Nasdaq composite rose six points to 3,243.

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

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.

Among other companies making moves Monday:

_ Dick's Sporting Goods sank 9 percent to $45.90, 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 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's stock rose 1 percent to $14.33.