NEW YORK, JULY 17 -- Wall Street's bull market, coming up to its fifth anniversary, passed a new milestone today as the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 2500 for the first time.
Analysts said blue-chip stocks benefited from strong earnings reports. Issues involved in takeovers and buybacks paced the market's fourth consecutive gain.
The Dow Jones average of 30 stocks climbed 13.07 to 2510.04, and several other market measures also reach new highs.
Volume on the New York Stock Exchange remained active at 209.98 million shares, down from 210.88 million in the previous session.
The Dow industrials flirted with the 2500 mark Wednesday and Thursday, only to close below it both times. However, the average moved cleanly past that landmark this morning with the help of a stronger dollar and a decline in open-market interest rates.
Perceptions that the economy remains sluggish, keeping inflation subdued, were reinforced by word that housing starts fell 0.7 percent last month. Analysts say the market has also benefited lately from impressive second-quarter earnings reports from several leading industrial companies.
With all the positive developments, brokers said today's advance typified the rally since late May. "This whole thing has crept up on us," said Hugh Johnson at First Albany Corp.
Kenner Parker jumped 5 1/2 to 45 7/8. Analysts said a $41-a-share bid for the company from New World Pictures prompted speculation that a higher offer might be forthcoming.
Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 243.98 million shares.
Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrials rose 1.89 to 368.33, and S&P's 500-stock composite index was up 1.89 at 314.59.
The Nasdaq composite index for the over-the-counter market picked up .87 to 434.08. At the Amex, the market value index closed at a record high for the ninth straight session, up .36 at 353.45.