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Two-day surge puts Dow near its record

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The Dow came within 100 points of its record high after rising sharply for a second day on more evidence the Fed will hold interest rates low, housing will keep recovering (builders’ stocks rose the second day in a row), and shoppers aren’t pulling back — even with a payroll tax hike. The gains were broad: 29 of 30 Dow stocks rose, as did all 10 S&P 500 industries. Discounters also rose: Dollar Tree by 11%, after a 22% profit increase; Dollar General by 3.6%; Family Dollar by 2.5%. The Dow has surged 290 in two days, erasing its drop of 216 on Monday as Italy’s murky election results fed fears that Europe’s fiscal crisis would flare up again.

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