New record: Dow closes above 15,000

NEW YORK -- The Dow Jones industrial average on Tuesday closed above 15,000 points for the first time, clearing a psychological hurdle as stocks continue a strong rally this year.

It was only three months ago when the Dow, the iconic blue-chip index for 30 companies, burst through 14,000 for the first time since 2007.

The magnitude of the rally has surprised even some of the most bullish Wall Street strategists. The Dow is up nearly 15% for the year.

Some analysts contend stocks are still reasonably priced -- not cheap but not overly expensive -- and not approaching valuations seen before previous market peaks.

“This market has a lot more room to run,” said Doug Cote, chief investment strategist with ING Investment Management U.S., who says he would not be surprised to see the Dow hit 16,000 by year's end.

Investors have been pouring into equities this year, pushed into stocks by vast stimulus programs rolled out by theFederal Reserve and other central banks around the globe.

As growth in the United States and around the world has stumbled in recent years, the central banks have taken aggressive steps to make money cheap to borrow.

By lowering interest rates, the Fed and other central banks have made investing in bonds less attractive, luring investors into riskier assets like stocks.
--Andrew Tangel, Los Angeles Times