The Nasdaq rocket just won't stop ascending.

The Nasdaq composite index extended its streak today, reaching its 10th record close in 11 trading sessions, again on the strength of major technology stocks.

Financial stocks, meanwhile, led the Dow Jones industrial average to its biggest gain in two weeks.

The Nasdaq composite index closed at 3220.86, up 23.57, or 0.7 percent. The Dow average rose 174.02, or 1.6 percent, to 10,769.32, its highest close since Sept. 20. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained 14.60, or 1.06 percent, to close at 1396.06.

Never mind that just a few weeks ago both the Dow and the Nasdaq suffered a major swoon. That's all been forgotten.

"Nasdaq is benefiting from a speculative fervor for growth stocks that seem to have enduring long-term potential," said David Resler, chief economist at Nomura Securities International. "The real question is: How long can prices keep going higher when earnings don't justify them?"

For the year, the Nasdaq index is up nearly 46 percent. That strong showing has been concentrated in a few major names, with the 10 largest Nasdaq stocks accounting for 65 percent of the gain. Even though there are more Nasdaq stocks that are down for the year than those that are up, the big winners--tech firms such as Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Intel Corp.--have driven the index ever higher.

Qualcomm Inc., the world's second-largest developer of cellular telephone technology, jumped $32.50 to $378 after a Wall Street analyst raised his forecast on the stock's price. Intel, however, fell $3.25, to $76-3/16, yesterday after an analyst cut his rating of Intel.

Riyad Said, a senior communications analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc., said many investors who have been focused on Internet stocks now are looking at which other companies stand to benefit because they offer services or products tied to the Internet.

One of the other sectors that is receiving that attention is emerging communications companies that will compete with local carriers. Upcoming rules from the FCC that would require local carriers to provide access to other carriers over existing lines is expected late next week and may also have been driving those stocks, Said said.

"Half the market is psyche and emotion," said Susan Pevear, an independent analyst affiliated with Standard & Poor's. "While the 10 out of 11 days of Nasdaq being up isn't magic to me, the resiliency is nice," she said. "It shows that there is fundamental investing. Not just profit-taking going on."

In the Dow average, financial firms including American Express Corp., Citigroup and J.P. Morgan & Co. all rose as analysts and investors interpreted new government reports to mean that the Federal Reserve wouldn't raise interest rates when a policymaking committee meets Tuesday.

The Labor Department reported that worker productivity rose more than expected in the third quarter, but labor costs grew more slowly than expected.

The Nasdaq has had a spectacular run over the past two weeks, breaking 3200 yesterday and closing up 10 of the past 11 days . . .

Nasdaq composite index, daily closes

Percent change, 10/29 - 11/12

Nasdaq: 8.6%

S&P 500: 2.4%

Dow: 0.3%

. . . propelled by the surge in stock prices of companies such as JDS Uniphase, which gained 20 percent over the past two weeks . . . and Broadcom, which went up 41 percent during that period.

(This graphic was not available)

SOURCE: Bloomberg News