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Dow notches ninth straight gain, longest since '96

Wednesday - 3/13/2013, 4:23pm  ET

Michael Smyth, right, uses his handheld device as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Stocks are mixed in early trading on Wall Street after the government reported that U.S. retail sales rose at the fastest pace in five months. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrial average has notched its ninth gain in a row, giving the index its longest winning streak in 16 years.

The Dow rose five points, or 0.04 percent, to close at 14,455 points Wednesday.

The Dow has risen every day so far in March, adding 400 points to the index. It broke through its previous all-time high on March 5th.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed two points to 1,554, a gain of 0.1 percent.

The Nasdaq composite edged up nearly three points to 3,245.

Retail stocks rose after the government reported an unexpectedly big increase in consumer spending last month.

Rising stocks outpaced falling ones on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was slightly lower than the recent average at 3 billion shares.

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