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Stocks gain for fifth day on unemployment report

Dow maintains ascent into record territory after unemployment claims drop; Kroger gains

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FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2013, file photo, Maureen Smaldone, a trader for Brendan E. Cryan and Company, monitors trading activity from her workstation at the New York Stock Exchange. The positive mood in financial markets showed few signs of abating Thursday March 7, 2013 ahead of policy statements from Europe's top two central banks. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

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NEW YORK — Stocks closed higher on Wall Street for a fifth straight day, pushing the Dow farther into record territory.

The Dow Jones industrial average, which surpassed its previous all-time high two days ago, closed up 33 points at 14,329 today.

The Standard & Poor's 500 rose nearly three points to 1,544. The S&P is now about 20 points away from its own record high close.

The Nasdaq rose nine points to 3,232. The Dow and S&P gained 0.2 percent, the Nasdaq 0.3 percent.

The catalyst for the advance was the latest evidence that hiring is picking up: a decline in unemployment applications.

Kroger rose 3 percent after reporting strong earnings.

Three stocks rose for every two that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was average at 3.5 billion shares.

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