NEW YORK, AUG. 11 -- The stock market's dizzying ascent into the record books accelerated today as the Dow Jones industrial average soared to its seventh record close in 11 sessions.

The closely watched index jumped 44.64 points to close at 2680.48. On July 28, the index stood at 2519.77; since Jan. 1, it has picked up 784.53 points, for an overall gain of 41.4 percent.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange hit a stunning 278.13 million shares. That was second only to the 302.39 million shares that traded hands on Jan. 23 this year, and far above the 266.54 million shares of April 14, now the third-highest trading day in history.

Monday's Big Board volume totaled 187.20 million shares.

Once again, analysts said, there was no specific news to kick off the stampede. Rather, it was a question of the market's building on its own momentum.

"What we're seeing is capitulation by the short-term bears, the skeptics and the shorts, who have been looking for a correction so they can buy in at comfortable levels," said Alfred E. Goldman, an analyst at the A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. securities firm.

"Shorts" are investors who, believing that stocks are about to decline, sell borrowed shares in hopes of buying them back at cheaper prices.

When prices continued to rise, the shorts were forced to buy more shares to cut their losses, thereby contributing to the overall upsurge.

Aside from its own steadily accelerating momentum, one strong force in the rising market has been an influx of foreign money.

The foreign investors have been attracted to U.S. securities -- and especially blue chip issues -- by the stable dollar and fears of rising interest rates, which would diminish the value of fixed-income securities.

The buying today was widespread. And while blue chips continued to attract much of the attention, nearly all segments were buoyed by the buying.

"Leadership was broad-based across the board, in every sector -- retail, publishing, drugs, paper -- by major institutions, secondary institutions and individuals," said Jack Baker, head of block trading at the Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc. securities firm. "The Japanese were good buyers, the British were good buyers, the Swiss too."

On the NYSE, advancing issues outpacing decliners by about 2 to 1.

The session started strongly and continued that way, with the Dow index in double digits all day. At midafternoon a lull set in, with the Dow dropping from the low 30s to the mid 20s.

"The shorts got nervous, those on the sidelines got nervous, and this led to a feeding frenzy in the last 10 minutes," Goldman said. "The September Standard & Poor's 500 futures went to a 210-point premium -- and that stimulated computerized buying programs that kicked the market into overdrive," he said.

In this strategy, professionials trade off differences between futures contracts and their underlying "baskets" of stocks.

AT&T led the Big Board's most-active list at 35 3/8, up 5/8; IBM was up 2 1/4 at 169, and National Semiconductor was up 1/2 at 15 1/8.

General Electric rose 2 1/2 at 64 3/8, while Motorola gained 2 1/4 at 65.

Nationwide turnover in NYSE-listed issues, including trades in those stocks on regional exchanges and in the over-the-counter market, totaled 323.61 million shares.

The NYSE index was up 2.68 to 186.13, its fourth straight record.

Standard & Poor's index of 400 industrials rose 5.96 to 389.85, and S&P's 500-stock composite index was up 5.33 to 333.33.

At the American Stock Exchange, the market value index rose 1.15 to 363.89. The Nasdaq composite index for the over-the-counter market closed at 449.36, up 3.09.