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Dow Jones Average Tops Record High

The Dow Jones industrial average surged to a record high this morning at the opening bell, surpassing a key level in its recovery from the 2008 financial meltdown.

The Dow rose 92 points to 14,221 at 9:49 a.m., topping the previous record high of 14,164 achieved on Oct. 9, 2007.

An index of 30 of the largest US companies, the Dow is a widely-watched indicator of the stock market. It has more than doubled from its low reached in 2009 after the government bailed out the major banks, which were crushed under the weight of bad mortgages fueled by easy-lending policies.

Stocks have been in a five-year bull market, helped by the Federal Reserve, which has kept interest rates near zero to assist in the recovery of the housing market.

The Dow is up 7.8 percent for the year, one of its best starts ever. The Standard & Poor's index rose 11 points to 1,536. It's also within striking distance of its own record of 1,565. The Nasdaq was up 30 points at 3,212. Asian markets rose as China pledged to stick to ambitious growth targets for its economy, the world's second largest. European stocks also jumped because of retail sales in the region rose sharply.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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