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Dow beats pre-crisis high, hits 14,253.77

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Despite it all — housing market collapse, financial system meltdown, bailouts and backlash, worries the euro won’t survive, US politicians digging in their heels over spending and taxing — the Dow beat its 5½-year-old record of 14,164.53. Since a low point in March 2009, the index has more than doubled, stunning even veteran market watchers. On Tuesday, indexes rose worldwide as China said it would step up spending and Europe reported stronger-than-expected retail sales. A US service sector gauge hit the highest level in a year. Still, the Dow is a narrow market measure; the broader S&P 500 remained below its 1,565.15 high, set in 2007.

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