Materials, metals push Dow higher

The Dow average hit another record high, driven by a surge in materials and commodities. The prices of metals like copper, gold, and silver have rebounded after slumping for three months on waning demand. Oil is also rising following a sharp decline last week. ‘‘You’re seeing some pretty decent action in the overall market,” said one observer. Energy companies also advanced. First Solar Inc. soared after the solar panel maker issued a better-than-expected outlook for 2013 and solid predictions for the following two years. Retailer J.C. Penney Co. plunged following the ouster of chief executive Ron Johnson after only 17 months on the job.