Small-biz hopes lifts stocks to new records

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan Friday. (May 10, 2013) (Credit: Bloomberg News)

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The stock market marched back into record territory Tuesday as investors seized on the latest encouraging news about the economy: a report on the health of small businesses.

Small business owners were slightly more optimistic in April, according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business. That helped push the Russell 2000, an index of small-company stocks, up 1.3 percent.

The Russell index is 16.1 percent higher since the start of the year, compared to the 15.7 percent rise in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which includes larger, global companies. Small stocks are doing well partly because they are more focused on the United States, which is recovering, and don't get as much revenue from recession-plagued Europe as larger companies do.

The advance in small-company stocks is another sign of how optimistic investors have become. Smaller stocks are more risky than large ones but offer investors the prospect of greater returns.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 123.57 points to 15,215.25. The S&P 500 index rose 1.01 percent to 1,650.34 Both are at all-time highs. The Dow has risen 16.1 percent this year. The Nasdaq composite index rose 0.69 percent, to 3,462.61. -- AP

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