NEW YORK — The Dow Jones Industrial Average notched its ninth gain in a row, giving the index its longest winning streak in more than 16 years.
The index edged up 5.22 points, or 0.04 percent, to a new closing record of 14,455.28. The Dow has risen every day this month and is up 10.3 percent this year.
Demand for stocks has been propelled this year by optimism that the housing market is recovering and that companies have started to hire. Strong company earnings and ongoing stimulus from the Federal Reserve are also helping make stocks more attractive.
The Dow's last nine-day winning streak was logged in May 1996. In November of the same year, in the early days of the technology boom, it gained for 10 straight days.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.04 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,554.52. The Nasdaq composite rose 2.80 points, or 0.1 percent, to 3,245.12.
Stocks overcame an early loss Wednesday, having edged lower at the start of the trading day despite an unexpectedly strong increase in U.S. consumer spending last month.
Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
The failure of the market to rally directly after the report suggests that the bar has now risen for investors as stocks have rallied.
"As the market rises, so do expectations," said Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Wealth Management. "So, even if you get good numbers you don't necessarily get the market to go up."