Dow gains 10 days straight for first time since 1996

A TV on the floor of the New A TV on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday shows the first appearance of the new pope. Much of the rally in stock markets has been predicated on the assumption that the U.S. Federal Reserve will for the foreseeable future keep interest rates at record lows and continue to pump money into the economy. (March 13, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

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The Dow Jones industrial average has reached another milestone, recording its longest winning streak since 1996.

The index rose for the tenth straight day Thursday, gaining 83.86 points to close at 14,539.14.

The last time the Dow knocked out 10 straight days of gains was November 1996. Back then, Internet companies were still lining up to go public and President Bill Clinton had just won another term in the White House. "It's just a good run," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the brokerage BTIG. "And it speaks to optimism about the future."

Encouraging news on jobs gave the market an early lift. The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed within two points of its all-time high, reached in October 2007. The S&P gained 0.56 percent to 1,563.23. The Nasdaq gained 0.43 percent to 3,258.93.

Signs that the economic recovery is gaining strength have propelled the market higher since the beginning of March. Last month, the unemployment rate dipped to 7.7 percent, the lowest level since December 2008. Adding to evidence that the job market is improving, fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week.

Record corporate profits and reassurances from Federal Reserve officials that they plan to keep interests rates at historically low levels have also helped push stocks higher.

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